The National Immigrant Justice Center can proceed unabated with its lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after a federal judge cleared the legal action. At the center of the lawsuit are two U.S. citizens who were illegally detained by federal immigration officials who assumed they were undocumented immigrants; however, with this recent clearance, it is expected that hundreds, and many thousands, more people will pursue legal action.
The NIJC lawsuit is challenging ICE’s processes and procedures related to detaining an individual. ICE allegedly has been holding people, who they assumed to have illegally entered the country, beyond the legal amount of time allotted by federal judges and prosecutors.
As a result, two U.S. citizens were detained for extended periods — without any serious investigations into their legal status. One U.S. citizen was detained for six months because officials thought the man was undocumented; while another U.S. citizen was jailed for almost a year before ICE looked into his status.
The shocking treatment of detainees is sadly all too common; and this story touches on two critical flaws of ICE — the failure to identify actual suspects, and a failure to uphold the federal laws they are charged with enforcing.
As this story shows, even U.S. citizens can use a lawyer well-versed in immigration law. In the wake of a wrongful arrest, an illegally detained individual would be well within his or her rights to seek retribution from the government. The two U.S. citizens in this story lost huge swaths of their lives due to illegal and discriminatory treatment by federal officials.
Source: EFE, “Suit against immigration detainers to go forward,” Dec. 4, 2012
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