FEBRUARY 25, 2010
In the latest of several lawsuits filed by illegal immigrants against U.S. law enforcement agencies, a Mexican woman claims that an Arizona sheriff’s department mistreated her during a workplace raid that led to the arrest of dozens of undocumented workers.
For three years Celia Alvarez used a fake identity to work at a Phoenix landscaping company that was raided last fall by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department. Alvarez, who has four U.S.-born anchor babies, was among the 60 illegal immigrants arrested in the operation.
In a federal complaint she accuses Maricopa Sheriff’s deputies of negligence and mistreatment for arresting and interrogating her. Alvarez also claims that deputies violently struck her and denied her medical care for several weeks during her two-month detention. She is seeking damages for illegal search and seizure as well as assault.
The arrest also traumatized her children, Alvarez says, especially her youngest because he was still breastfeeding at the time and his mother was not available to properly nourish him. She asserts that the incident has marked her for a lifetime and hurt her kids, who as U.S.-born citizens collect public assistance.
The struggling, unemployed illegal immigrant with four young children assures she’s not interested in the money she “could get out of this,” but rather in denouncing the “abuse, cruelty and inhumanity” of how she was treated by the local sheriff, which she worries will “go after more people.”
This seems to be part of a growing trend among illegal immigrants and their advocate pro bono attorneys to sue law enforcement officials for doing their job and local governments for enforcing their measures. In the last few months alone legal action has been taken against an Ohio sheriff deputy who helped deport a Mexican with false identification cards, a Maryland officer who arrested an illegal Salvadoran woman and federal agents who apprehended a group of illegal aliens in a Connecticut immigration raid.
A few weeks ago a group of undocumented day laborers sued a southern California city (Costa Mesa) for banning them from seeking work on public streets. The lawsuit actually stems from the arrest by local police of a dozen illegal alien day laborers who violated the city’s anti-solicitation ordinance.
On a positive note, a Rhode Island state trooper sued for racial profiling after detaining a group of illegal aliens during a traffic stop was recently exonerated by a federal appeals court that determined the officer acted appropriately.
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