Residents of the small town of California, in Southern Maryland, Mr. Wanrong Lin and Ms. Hui Fang Dong, were separated by ICE’s “bait and switch” practice. Like other ICE offices across the country, the Baltimore ICE office is detaining and deporting non-citizen spouses of U.S. citizens when they show up for appointments required as part of the process established by the federal government to allow those spouses to obtain legal status to remain in the United States. In late 2018, the ACLU of Maryland filed suit in Greenbelt minutes before ICE put Mr. Lin on a plane for deportation to Shanghai, China.

In a remarkable and dramatic turn of events, federal judge George Hazel convened an emergency hearing after the plane took off and was en route to China, heard arguments while the plane remained aloft, and shortly before touchdown ruled that ICE had treated Mr. Lin in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner, in violation of its own regulations, ordering Mr. Lin’s return to the United States. He was subsequently returned to Maryland by the State Department, and rejoined his wife and three U.S. citizen children in time for the winter holidays. 

We are challenging ICE's bait and switch tactic and fighting for Mr. Lin's right to secure permanent residence in the United States.

Blog: "Celebrating Love and Family this Valentine's Day" (February 14, 2019)

The ACLU of Maryland is currently litigating two legal cases related to ICE's cruel “bait and switch.” Read about Sanchez v. McAleenan here.


Nick Taichi Steiner and David Rocah of the ACLU of Maryland, and Seth Rosenthal, Nathaniel Berry, and Katherine Sochacki of Venable LLP

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Venable LLP

Date filed

November 19, 2018


U.S. District Court of Maryland


U.S. District Court Judge George Hazel