A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the release of eight immigrants held by Bristol Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson in response to a lawsuit that plaintiffs’ attorneys call the first coronavirus class action case against US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a court filing and a statement from the attorneys.
Lawyers for Civil Rights sued in late March for the release of 147 immigrants held at the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center and the Bristol County House of Correction, both in North Dartmouth, according to the organization.
District Judge William G. Young is considering the release of 10 detainees per day, according to court documents.
On Tuesday, Young ordered the release of eight people: Pascual Montes-Santos, Julio Figueroa-Morales, Donovan Smith, Andrea James, Joko Thomas, Akeim Thomas, Victor Sanchez-Lopez, and Paul Schnaidery.
Another detainee set for consideration Tuesday, Harlen Perez, had previously been released.
Lawyers for Civil Rights said that not all the detainees being released fall within categories considered high risk for coronavirus by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “making this one of the first cases in the country where a court responding to the COVID-19 crisis orders humanitarian release for immigrants not based on individualized medical risk factors.”
Three inmates in the Massachusetts correction system have died from the coronavirus, all at Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater.
The judge will again hear from Lawyers for Civil Rights in a teleconference hearing on Thursday.