OCTOBER 30, 2009
A group of illegal immigrants recently spared deportation by a sympathetic Connecticut judge are suing the federal agents that arrested them, claiming their constitutional rights were violated in the raids that led to their apprehension.
The illegal aliens, who live in New Haven, assert in a federal lawsuit that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents violated their rights during an early-morning fugitive operation in 2007 that led to the arrest of 30 people. Seventeen of them 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.
In August a federal judge (Michael Straus) in Connecticut blocked the deportation of four of the illegal aliens, ruling that their constitutional rights were “egregiously violated” because immigration agents entered their apartments without a warrant, probable cause or consent. Besides terminating removal proceedings, the judge suppressed any evidence gathered by federal agents because the illegal aliens’ constitutional protections to due process were violated.
Evidently emboldened by the ruling, the illegal immigrants are now suing the agents who conducted the raids, their supervisors and senior ICE officials. Weapons drawn, agents entered the illegal aliens’ homes without cause, consent or search warrants, according to the complaint filed this week. It further says that authorities had not previously determined that most of the arrested were in violation of immigration law and therefore had no reason to assume that they lacked legal status.
The lawsuit also declares that the feds deliberately conducted raids in New Haven to retaliate against the city for its well-known efforts to accommodate illegal immigrants. A few years ago New Haven became the nation’s first to offer illegal aliens official identification cards so that they can enjoy public services and integrate into the community. San Francisco followed its lead and began offering illegal immigrants ID cards this year.
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