Paul Dimick

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota
  • Sponsored by Allen I Saeks PA, Family of Hyman Edelman
  • Service location Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Law school University of Minnesota Law School
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Paul will engage in habeas corpus and other federal immigration litigation, including class actions, to defend low-income immigrants in Minnesota against unlawful immigration detention.

Recent years have seen unprecedented numbers in federal immigration detention under both Democratic and Republican administrations. In 2012, the annual total population of immigration detainees reached 464,190, and in 2018, the average daily population of detainees was 39,322 – both record highs. While detainees can request bond hearings before an immigration judge, current law and procedures create a system stacked against non-citizens. For example, the burden of proof is on detainees throughout bond proceedings, thus creating perverse presumptions against personal liberty. And, even if a detainee can satisfy the onerous burden of proof, release from custody is often no closer because agency rules bar immigration judges from considering a detainee’s financial ability to pay when setting bond amounts.

These compounding structural inequities perpetuate an unconstitutional system of mass immigration incarceration that devastates individual detainees, their families, and immigrant communities. The impact in Minnesota is acute as the state is home to large immigrant and refugee populations, including the nation’s largest population of Somalis. While procedurally complicated, federal habeas actions are the most powerful tool for defending non-citizens’ individual liberties. Unfortunately, the vast majority of detainees lack counsel and only a handful of Minnesota attorneys have habeas expertise in the immigration context.

Paul applied to law school while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Guatemala. His experiences there repeatedly demonstrated the vital importance of working to ensure each and every person has equal access to the justice system and inspired him to spend his career representing similarly marginalized and underrepresented populations.

Fellowship Plans

Paul plans to engage in habeas corpus litigation and develop a Federal Habeas Corpus Manual for other attorneys representing detained non-citizens.


3L Paul Dimick, Mary Georgevich ’18 Awarded Equal Justice Works Fellowships

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