Thursday, September 20, 2007

PRLDEF Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Illegal ICE Searches

The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF) along with the law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP filed a great class action lawsuit today, September 20, 2007, against ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for unlawfully breaking and entering into the homes of Latinos in the New York area without juridical warrants or any other legal justification!

According to the complaint, armed ICE agents break down doors or force their way before dawn into homes where they awaken and terrify kids and adults inside. They often look for people who are not even there and don't even live in the home. The lawsuit, Aguilar v. ICE, was filed in the Southern District of New York.

The allegations that ICE pounds on doors around 5 in the morning to scare people into opening their doors is consistent with allegations of how ICE agents operate in New Jersey. It also increases the growing case for arguing that ICE commits widespread violations of people's Fourth Amendment rights.

That would be a significant point, because the United States Supreme Court explicitly left open the possibility of imposing the exclusionary rule in immigration court for all illegal searches and seizures if there were proof of widespread 4th Amendment violations by the immigration authorities. The case discussing suppression motions in immigration court is called Lopez-Mendoza from 1984.

PRLDEF includes a strong demand that a judge issue a permanent injunction to prohibit ICE from engaging in illegal searches and seizures. A ruling along those lines would help safeguard the Constitutional rights of everyone in the United States from the growing evidence of widespread illegal searches by immigration authorities.


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