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Ankle-bracelet company faces scrutiny in court

The ankle-bracelet company Libre by Nexus Inc. bails undocumented immigrants out of detention so they can become customers in need of ankle-bracelets. Typically, this arrangement can be made for immigrants who do not pose a safety threat to the general public, nor is there a flight risk before their immigration hearing.

According to a recent report, the company has the immigrants sign up for use of their ankle bracelets, charging them high prices with monthly payments for the bracelet. If the clients miss payments, the company reportedly falsely implies that the clients will be arrested again. Critics claim that the Libre is engaged in an ongoing and systemic campaign of taking advantage of its clientele, which is generally Spanish-speaking and indigent.

The court rulesA U.S. District Judge in Oakland ruled that the company cannot imply that the clients will be arrested. Moreover, the judge denied the company’s motion to dismiss a suit brought against the company by three immigrants, who allege that the company is a debt collector who must follow the rules of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The judge also says she will issue a written order.

Questions about the contract

Along with the expense, the company also forces its clients to sign a 21-page contract written in English. Plaintiffs point out that the company knows that the clients cannot read the English-language contract they signed, and that the Spanish translation is only one page long. Another complaint alleges that detainees have limited experience with bond companies and do not understand the unfavorable terms of the contract, which includes 20 percent down and $880 nonrefundable fee up front. Critics add that clientele pay $9,000 in non-refundable fees in the first year on a $10,000 bond. Detainees often need to secure third party loans to pay the money, which ends up being $20,000.

Attorneys provide knowledgeable advocacy

It is advisable for those in immigration detention (or have loved ones who are detained) to hire an attorney knowledgeable in immigration law. The laws are complicated and those offering to help may not have the best interests of the detainee in mind, particularly if a contract is involved.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber