At a Glance
November 26, 2013
The case is pending before the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Shayana Kadidal
- Sunita Patel
Rogelio Blackman Hinds
November 27, 2013
Blackman v. Holder is one of several cases in which the Center for Constitutional Rights submitted amicus briefs in support of non-citizens seeking relief from immigration detention. It involves a challenge to the deportation of non-citizens in light of family separation.
Rogelio Blackman is a Panamanian citizen and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served 18 years in prison for drug trafficking. Upon completion of his sentence, Mr. Blackman was moved to an immigration detention facility where the government started removal proceedings. Mr. Blackman is subject to mandatory deportation under the 1996 immigration reform statutes. If deported to Panama, Mr. Blackman would be separated from his children, who are U.S. citizens, and his wife. Moreover, one of Mr. Blackman’s sons was injured severely in a car accident years ago, leaving him mentally disabled and entirely dependent on his parents for care and support. The Center for Constitutional Rights filed an amicus brief in support of Blackman, arguing that international law prohibits tearing up a family without any consideration of the hardship to the relatives left behind in the U.S. or whether the government’s interest in removal outweighs that harm. The Center is making similar arguments in two other deportation cases, and this work is part of CCR's efforts to fight immigration abuses.
CCR’s brief centers on existing international law norms regarding the right to family integrity and association—the right to live together as a family—which provides significant protections to non-citizens facing deportation, like Mr. Blackman, who have strong family ties to the United States. It argues that the right to family integrity in international law prohibits arbitrary family separation—without a hearing or possibility of discretionary relief—and a requirement of proportionality between the state interests underlying the separation and the hardship to the affected individuals.
CCR also argues that Congress’s power to regulate immigration is not enumerated anywhere in the text of the U.S. Constitution; instead, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently characterized it as a power “inherent in sovereignty,” created by—and therefore limited by—international law. International law norms like the right to family should therefore inform and restrict deportation procedures.