Army veteran and Jamaican immigrant Mark Reid, who faces deportation for past drug convictions, will be freed on $25,000 bond, a federal judge in Connecticut ruled.
The development in Reid’s case is the result of a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Reid v. Donelan. The ACLU won immigrants the right to a bond hearing after six months of detention, arguing that it was a violation of due process for the federal government to lock people in jail, away from their families, with no legal council for months on end.
The Yale Law School clinic is representing Reid pro bono, according to the Hartford Courant. The paper reports that Reid’s feelings about the bond hearing are mixed.
"I'm so glad to have gotten a bond hearing," Reid said in a statement. "But it's wrong the ICE continues to deny this opportunity to others who can't afford a good lawyer."
Reid, 49, has lived in the United States since the age of 14. He served in the Army Reserve for six years before being honorably discharged. But because of four drug convictions for which he already served time, the veteran may have to leave his life in the United States behind. He is one of many legal immigrants to serve in the U.S. military who now face deportation.
And now, Reid must raise $25,000 for his bond — money that he doesn’t have. Mary Yanik, a Yale Law school student working on his case, said that Reid's family, Unitarian minister Rev. Joshua Pawelek, and the Yale clinic are working to raise the money.
If they find the $25,000, Reid would be released on probation-like conditions to the Continuum of Care residential program in New Haven, where he would be barred from crime-related activities and from leaving the state and would have to wear an electronic monitoring cuff and meet with his immigration officer, in addition to undergoing a mental health evaluation.
In an interview from jail with the Hartford Courant, Reid said he wasn’t "making excuses for bad choices" but that deportation back to a country he hasn’t been to in 30 years would be “overkill” for his nonviolent drug offenses.
"The punishment is worse than the crime,” Reid said.
Yale Law School released a statement saying that federal rulings preventing immigration courts from detaining immigrants indefinitely don’t go far enough to protect those who don’t have the means to defend themselves.
“Those rulings have granted relief only to [some] individuals, leaving those without the resources to sue in federal court languishing in detention for months or years,” the statement reads.
Sources: Hartford Courant