SEATTLE -

An immigrant rights organization is suing on behalf of more than 80 detainees at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, saying they've been improperly denied bail hearings pending determinations on whether they should be granted asylum.

According to the lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the detainees have previously been removed from the U.S. but then re-entered. They've been subsequently detained again, but have argued that they fear persecution in their home countries, and asylum officers have already determined they have demonstrated a reasonable fear of persecution or torture if they return.

Nevertheless, the organization says most are being forced to remain in custody for months or longer without hearings to determine if they should be released on bail.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not immediately return an email seeking comment.