A federal court dismissed an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee's petition to be given a bond hearing or released after he was moved from Alamance County to a Georgia detention center.

Ibrahima Kaba filed a writ of habeas corpus in April naming Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen, Attorney General William Barr, ICE officials, Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson and one of his officers. It asked for a court appearance where ICE would have to justify his detention as a flight risk or a danger to the community, or give him a chance to get out on bond.

At that time, according to his court petition, he had been held in the Alamance County jail for six months and, according to the ICE detainee locator, Kaba was still at the county jail in June.

It is not clear when Kaba was transferred to the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga., but In July, according to court records, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina gave him 30 days to submit the $5 filing fee to have his case go forward, to which he didn't apparently respond, and a July 15 mailing from the court to the jail was returned as undeliverable.

ICE Public Affairs didn't reply Monday afternoon to a Times-News question about when and why Kaba was transferred.

Kaba's petition was unusual, but others like it have succeeded.

Adina Appelbaum, lawyer with the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, told the Times-News in June that her organization filed a habeas corpus petition for a detainee in a Maryland court. In February that court ordered a bond hearing in his case before an immigration court with the burden of proof on the government to show he was a flight risk or a danger. He was granted a relatively modest bond.

The courts have not completely settled the issue of the right to bond hearings for immigration detainees, but the most recent Supreme Court decision was not favorable. Kaba's petition seemed to rely on Fifth Amendment right-of-due-process arguments upheld in a 2015 Appeals Court decision and favored in a 2018 Supreme Court dissent casting doubt on the constitutionality of detention for more than six months without a bond hearing.

Kaba's petition looked professional. It was typed, not handwritten like a lot of jailhouse legal filings done without lawyers, and makes complicated legal arguments citing multiple appeals and Supreme Court cases, though it doesn't have a lawyer's name on it.

According to his petition, Kaba, who is not a U.S. citizen, is awaiting deportation proceedings. He is from Ivory Coast, according to the ICE Detainee Locator System.

ICE has been booking 11,000 to 12,000 people a month in the current fiscal year for a total of 126,287 booked as of Aug. 31, according to its website.

Reporter Isaac Groves can be reached at igroves@thetimesnews.com or 336-506-3045. Follow him on Twitter at @tnigroves.

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