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Lawsuit filed against ICE over unconstitutional detention of American citizens

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The ACLU has filed a class action lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for placing an immigration hold on individuals without probable cause. The ACLU has been a prominent voice in the immigration debate and is seeking to end the government’s improper detentions of immigrants.


U.S. Citizen Detained by ICE

In the case of Gerardo Gonzalez Jr., he was taken into custody by ICE officers without probable cause. Disregarding the fact that Gonzalez is a citizen, officers held him “on the sole fact that a law enforcement officer wrote that Gonzalez was born in Mexico following his arrest on a drug charge.” Gonzalez was wrongfully arrested since immigration agents do not have legal authority to detain citizens. This case is an important one that adds to a string of wrongful treatment of immigrants.

ACLU filing to protect citizens

Between 2008 and 2012, ICE has issued immigration detainers to over 830 American citizens and 28,000 legal permanent residents. It is difficult for them to determine citizenship right away because there is no central registry that determines citizenship. In addition, detainees who are facing deportation are not appointed legal counsel. Without legal counsel, they may spend long periods of time in federal custody. 82 people were held in two Arizona detention centers for “periods as long as a year.”

How ICE has Responded

According to the lawsuit, ICE has not taken appropriate measures to fix their mistakes. They issued a memo and informed their officers that detainers were solely for noncitizens, but the ACLU lawsuit charges ICE with “not changing the actual evidentiary standards required before ICE agents request a person’s detention.” It has also been reported that in several cases, ICE agents relied on “foreign sounding” last names, languages and appearances to determine whether someone is a citizen or not. This type of racial profiling is dangerous because it can occur anywhere from the Border States to Missouri. ICE is not taking positive actions to protect immigrants and citizens from being detained.

If you have have been wrongfully detained or arrested by ICE, or have questions about deportation in Missouri and Illinois, please contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.

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