The government should consider individuals’ financial resources when setting the bond amount for aliens in removal proceedings, the ACLU argues.

In a class lawsuit filed this month, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project say the federal government sets unacceptably high bond amounts for foreign nationals in deportation proceedings because it fails to consider their ability to pay. The result, the ACLU argues, is lengthier incarceration rates for poorer aliens.

The suit names Cesar Matias, a Honduran national fighting deportation by seeking asylum, and Xochitl Hernandez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico convicted of shoplifting, as plaintiffs in the suit. ACLU charges their bail is too high for them to pay and violates their rights. Matias’ bail is $3,000 and Hernandez’s bail is $60,000.

“Poverty or lack of financial resources should not deprive a person of his or her freedom while in civil immigration proceedings,” Michael Kaufman, an ACLU SoCal attorney, said in a statement. “Such detention violates the due process and equal protection guarantees of the Fifth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Bail Clause and immigration laws.”

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