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Settlement Reached in Fight to Protect National Immigrant Hotline

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After obtaining a preliminary injunction, Freedom for Immigrants (FFI) reached a settlement with the federal government, which will guarantee the use of its National Immigration Detention Hotline for at least five more years.

“This settlement is a victory for the First Amendment rights of Freedom for Immigrants and immigrants in detention,” Moez M. Kaba, a partner at Hueston Hennigan and the lead counsel of the group in the lawsuit, along with Rajan Trehan and Ashley Artmann, said in a statement. “The government cannot simply silence expressions of dissent or critique from people speaking out against the conditions of confinement.”

Under the settlement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agreed to provide uninterrupted access to FFI’s National Immigration Detention Hotline for people in the immigration detention system across more than 150 detention centers and jails across the country.

In 2019, FFI partnered with the popular Netflix show Orange is the New Black (“OITNB”) to help portray the plight of persons detained in ICE facilities and increase public knowledge of the work that organizations like FFI do. Season 7 of OITNB prominently featured the Hotline, and press surrounding the July 2019 season premiere focused on the immigrant-centric storylines and FFI’s work. After first restricting the national Hotline to only certain facilities in Florida, ICE completely shut down the Hotline within two weeks of the premiere of OITNB Season 7.

Hueston Hennigan filed a lawsuit on behalf of FFI in December 2019 seeking to reinstate the national hotline. In February 2021, we won a preliminary injunction affirming FFI’s First Amendment and Constitutional rights and ordering the government to immediately reinstate the Hotline.

The Hueston Hennigan team includes Moez Kaba, Rajan Trehan, and Ashley Artmann.

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