LatinoJustice Resists: We’re suing ICE to defend the Fourth Amendment

We are suing ICE! Our lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of ICE administrative detainer warrants as it relates to:

  1. The constitutionality of these administrative warrants that direct local law enforcement agencies to hold individuals past their scheduled release date without accompanying judicial authorization.
  2. Local law enforcement agencies that voluntarily comply with ICE’s administrative request to detain someone sans a judicial warrant run the risk of being sued and being held liable for their unconstitutional detention!

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The Case:

Joaquin Orellana Castaneda a native of Guatemala who has lived in the United States for over 12 years without incident was arrested by Suffolk County police in April for violations of the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law. He was arraigned the same day before a Suffolk County district court judge, who set bail at $1,000, adjourned the case, and remanded him into custody of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.

However, after his family managed to pull together $1,000 to post his bail, the Suffolk County Sheriff refused to release Mr. Castaneda and continued to hold him in custody because of an ICE administrative detainer request. The administrative detainer and warrant however was not signed by a judge or accompanied by a judicial warrant.

“The current political climate regarding immigration issues has created an environment where situations such as Mr. Orellana’s are occurring all too often,” said Juan Cartagena, president and general counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

You can read more about the filing here and donate to support our litigation here.

The Significance

ICE’s reliance on internal administrative warrants requires the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies to hold individuals for 48 hours without any judicial authorization. These detainers suffer from an obvious, and deeply troubling, defect: they seek someone’s detention without judicial authorization, as required by the Fourth Amendment. Over the past five years, a series of federal court decisions have consistently found local law enforcement agencies liable for detaining individuals based upon ICE administrative detainers.

ICE typically does not seek a judicial warrant, or a judicial determination of probable cause to arrest and detain someone, or even an individualized determination supporting the individual’s continued detention. So, it is not surprising that individuals including U.S. Citizens have on occasion been imprisoned for days based upon ICE’s own administrative detainer warrant.

Next Steps

The legal battle is already underway and our team will be in court to make sure that everyone’s Constitutional rights are respected. Will you stand with us? If you can make a donation, then please donate to support our litigation efforts here.

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