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Naturalized Citizen Sues ICE for Unlawful Immigration Detainer; Judge Rules in her Favor

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A federal judge ruled in favor of Ada Morales, a naturalized citizen, who is suing the state and federal officials for violating her constitutional rights. She was issued an immigration detainer which she feels was wrong and is challenging officials under her right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

U.S. Citizen jailed for being Foreign Born

U.S. District Judge John McConnell signed off on the order, which states that federal immigration officials had no reason to issue a detainer for Morales and this resulted in her constitutional rights being violated. Morales was detained after being arrested for fraud in 2009. According to the detainer, Morales was being held because of an investigation of her legal status in the U.S. According to the judge, an investigation is not the same as probable cause therefore violating the Fourth Amendment.

McConnell also called out immigration officials who decided whether or not to detain her based on that she was foreign born. With over 17 million U.S. citizens who were born in a different country, the fact that she was not born in the U.S. is not reason enough to believe she is residing in the country illegally.

Federal Judge rules in favor of immigrant

This case is important for immigrants residing in the U.S. and illustrates that discrimination even from authorities is still a major concern. "Therefore the court finds that initiating an investigation and detaining an individual based solely on his/her national origin violates the United States constitution," McConnell wrote. ICE’s spokesperson said they do not want to comment on any ongoing litigation but they are currently reviewing the decision and will defend their case. Another factor that may have contributed to confusion for ICE is Morales’s name was entered differently in the U.S.’s database because she changed her name after she married. The system has now been updated and Morales is waiting to see if ICE will appeal the decision.

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