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Utilizing Habeas Corpus Petitions for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 62 minutes
Recorded Date: December 16, 2019
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Closed Caption


  • The State of Detention for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children
  • Contents of the Habeas Petition
  • Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act
  • Flores Settlement Agreement
  • Procedural Due Process
  • Administrative Procedure Act
  • Section 504 - Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Service/Summons
  • Helpful Tips
  • Challenges with a Habeas Petition
Runtime: 1 hour, 2 minutes
Recorded: December 16, 2019


The Writ of Habeas Corpus in federal district court has become an increasingly important and powerful tool to attack unlawful detention and secure a child’s earlier release. Studies show that prolonged detention leads to serious physical and mental health problems for children, so securing an earlier release is critical.

Habeas petitions can be used to attack statutory, regulatory, and constitutional violations that result in prolonged detention and the needless suffering of children. Panelists will shine a light on what is happening in federal immigration detention centers and will demystify the law and procedure around habeas petitions.

This program was recorded on December 16th, 2019.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Samantha Hsieh

Staff Attorney
CAIR (Capital Area Immigrants' Rights) Coalition

Sam Hsieh is a Staff Attorney with CAIR Coalition’s Immigration Impact Lab. She brings impact litigation actions on behalf of detained immigrants in immigration and federal courts.

Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Sam was a staff attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, where she wrote memoranda and proposed opinions for federal appeals in a wide variety of areas, including immigration law. Sam also previously worked as an immigration attorney at a private firm in Washington, D.C. with a focus on asylum law.

Sam graduated with honors from The George Washington University Law School in 2016, where she received a full-tuition merit scholarship. In law school, she interned at a private immigration firm and the Department of Justice, in addition to representing low-wage workers in an employment law clinic.

Sam received her Bachelor of Sciences with Honors in political science and economics from the University of Michigan in 2011. She is admitted to practice law in Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and is proficient in Mandarin Chinese.

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Amy Maldonado

Founding Attorney
Law Office of Amy Maldonado

Amy Maldonado is a 1998 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she volunteered extensively at Catholic Social Services preparing asylum applications, and the University of Houston (B.A. in Philosophy with minor in Mexican American Studies). She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association, and the Hispanic National Bar Association. She is admitted to the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Sixth and Seventh Circuits, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She is a member of the State Bar of Illinois, and is authorized to represent clients on federal immigration matters in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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Lisa Lehner

Director, Litigation
AI Justice

Lisa Lehner is the Director of Litigation at AI Justice, where she focuses on federal litigation of immigrants’ rights in class actions, habeas petitions, FOIA litigation, negligence suits against the Government under the Federal Torts Claims Act and civil rights lawsuits challenging conditions in detention. While with AI Justice, Lehner co-authored a report detailing ICE practice of handcuffing and shackling detainees and she is currently collaborating with AI Justice colleagues on a report detailing ICE treatment of detainees with mental health issues.

Ms. Lehner served as Legal Advisor to Dade County State Attorneys Janet Reno and Katherine Fernandez Rundle from 1989-1995, advising the State Attorney on various issues including the constitutionality of state statutes. She also participated in numerous jury trials, including capital cases, assisting the trial lawyers with jury selection, motions, jury instructions and other legal matters.

Ms. Lehner is a Martindale Hubbell Preeminent Attorney in appellate practice and has extensive experience in appeals in both State and Federal courts. She has taught appellate advocacy as an Adjunct Professor at St. Thomas University School of Law. Ms. Lehner has served as Director of several voluntary bar associations, including the Dade County Bar Association, where she served on the Executive Committee and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, where she was the Chair of the Political Action Committee and Chair of the Community Outreach Committee. She has also served on several Florida Bar Committees, including the Standing Committee on Professionalism. Mrs. Lehner was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1983. She is also admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Southern District of Florida (1985) and the Middle District of Florida (2019); the Eleventh Circuit United States Court of Appeals (1984) and the United States Supreme Court (2000).

Ms. Lehner earned a B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she graduated with honors, and a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law, where she was on the Dean’s List. Ms. Lehner has received Florida Trend’s Legal Elite Award in 2009 and 2015.

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Martin Gauto

Senior Attorney
CLINIC - Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

Gauto is a Senior Attorney for CLINIC, based in Los Angeles. He provides training and technical assistance on immigration law, with an emphasis on matters relating to unaccompanied minors.

In 2013 he joined CLINIC after several years at Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project of Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, where he was the interim program director and lead immigration attorney. During his time at Esperanza, Gauto oversaw a large expansion of legal services to unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings.

He is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars and was an adjunct professor at La Verne College of Law in Ontario, California, where he taught immigration law. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego and is a graduate of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

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