JUNE 08, 2009
A Connecticut judge has blocked the deportation of four illegal immigrants, ruling that their constitutional rights were violated by the federal agents who arrested them during a 2007 raid.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents entered the four men’s apartments without a warrant, probable cause and without consent, according to Federal Judge Michael Straus. Therefore, the judge ruled, the illegal aliens’ rights were “egregiously violated” and deportation proceedings terminated.
The four men were among 30 people arrested by federal agents during an early morning summer raid in New Haven, the nation’s first city to offer illegal immigrants official identification cards so that they can enjoy public services and integrate into the community. Seventeen people were subsequently charged with being in the U.S. illegally and a group of law students from a nearby Ivy League university represented them pro bono.
The four illegal immigrants spared from deportation lived in the same Fair Haven building. The judge chastised the behavior of ICE agents for forcibly entering private homes and failing to demonstrate probable cause for arrest. Besides terminating removal proceedings, the judge suppressed any evidence gathered by federal agents because the illegal aliens’ constitutional protections to due process were violated.
“The touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is ‘reasonableness’ and, by natural extension, one’s reasonable expectation of privacy,” Judge Straus wrote. “Nowhere is that expectation of privacy more sacrosanct than in the confines of one’s home." A New Haven news web site has posted two of the four rulings here and here.
Ironically, ICE agents were recently called upon to rescue a group of illegal Ecuadorian immigrants in the same city who had been exploited by a local business. ICE officers came in the middle of the night to remove women and children from two apartments and turn them over to social workers for relocation assistance. So far no immigrant rights group has complained about those agents entering the illegal aliens’ homes in the night.
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