Dec 082017
 

Compliance with detainers issued solely to investigate immigration status violates Fourth Amendment, groups say

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office must stop its unconstitutional practice of detaining immigrants so that federal authorities can investigate them for possible deportation, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLU-FL) and LatinoJustice said in a letter this week.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) use detainer forms to request that sheriffs keep arrestees in jail on suspicion of immigration violation after they otherwise would have been released.

The letter, addressed to Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay, informs the law enforcement agency that it has been keeping alleged immigrants in the Monroe County Detention Center, in the Florida Keys, based on a detainer form that federal courts across the country have explicitly ruled unconstitutional.

“Not only does this practice present serious constitutional concerns and exposes the county to lawsuits, but it also harms the local community,” said Amien Kacou, staff attorney at the ACLU of Florida. “As Monroe County continues to recuperate from Hurricane Irma, it should be focusing its efforts to maintaining the safety and cohesion of these communities, not assisting in the separation of families and the deportation of community members.”

SEE MORE FROM THE BLUE PAPER:

IS MONROE A ‘SANCTUARY COUNTY’?

IMMIGRATION: DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

IMMIGRANT’S UNLAWFUL DETENTION: WHO’S AT FAULT?

According to the groups, the version of the detainer form used in Monroe County has been shown to violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition on illegal search and seizure. Merely investigating a person’s immigration status does not provide a probable cause for holding someone, thus exposing the county to liability.

Local law enforcement agencies have repeatedly been held liable for illegally detaining people in response to this type of hold request. For example, Clackamas County in Oregon was held liable for detaining a woman for 19 hours under an immigration detainer and had to pay her $97,000. Similarly, Lehigh County in Pennsylvania recently settled a lawsuit for $95,000 for wrongfully holding a United States citizen under this immigration detainer.

The current form used by ICE no longer permits the agency to request a detainer hold when it has only begun an investigation. Even this form does not satisfy the Fourth Amendment, however, as it does not require a finding of probable cause by a neutral magistrate before detaining someone. Use of detainers also endangers public safety by discouraging immigrants from reporting crimes, and contributes to the separation of families.

“We urge the Monroe County jail to stop honoring this outdated and unconstitutional form immediately,” said Lisa Graybill, deputy legal director at the SPLC. “Reliance on a form already found to be unconstitutional is an unconscionable attack on due process, and leaves Monroe County vulnerable to potential litigation.”

“We urge Monroe county to immediately cease its practice of honoring detainers. Not only does this practice expose the county to the potential of costly litigation based on violations of well-established constitutional principles, but also weakens the relationship between law enforcement and the community they serve.” said Kira Romero-Craft, Associate Counsel in LatinoJustice’s Southeast Office in Orlando.

THE LETTER TO SENT TO SHERIFF RICK RAMSAY:

Download (PDF, 5.64MB)

Download (PDF, 392KB)

About the ACLU of Florida

The ACLU is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works in courts, Congress, legislatures, and communities to protect and advance the constitutional rights of everybody. With a nationwide network and more than 2 million members and supporters, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties fights. Learn more at aclu.org and aclufl.org.

About SPLC

The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Alabama with offices in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. For more information, see www.splcenter.org.

About LatinoJustice

LatinoJustice PRLDEF is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan civil legal defense and education fund established in 1972, advancing Latinx civil and constitutional rights through litigation, legal advocacy and education. For more information, see latinojustice.org.

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Blue Paper Editor
Naja Girard
 December 8, 2017  Posted by at 12:40 am * Featured Story *, issue #246, News  Add comments

  9 Responses to “Sheriff’s Office Warned: “Stop Illegally Jailing Immigrants””

  1. That’s some heavy artillery Sheriff Ramsay heard from.

    His reaction, if any, so far?

    Is the heavy artillery prepared to file suit in U.S. District Court?

    The ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center have filed suit many times in the past over U.S. Constitution issues.

    This once-practicing attorney thinks this part of the letter may not be correct:

    ““Reliance on a form already found to be unconstitutional is an unconscionable attack on due process, and leaves Monroe County vulnerable to potential litigation.”

    The Sheriff is a Constitutional Office under Florida law, just as the Monroe County Commission is a Constitutional Office under Florida law. I do not think the County Commission funding the Sheriff’s annual budget makes Monroe County liable for laws the Sheriff might break, unless Monroe County is in cahoots with the Sheriff breaking those laws.

    If the County Commission might wish to cover its collective butt by passing a formal resolution telling the Sheriff that Monroe County does not support what this letter accuses him of doing, if he is doing it.

    If the County Commission does not do that, then it can be argued in court that it is in cahoots with the Sheriff.

    • So what you’re saying is that the sheriff and other Politicians SHOULD protect criminals?? Then the sheriff and our politicians would would become CRIMINALS themselves. Why do the Snowflakes have sympathy for CRIMINALS?? Would you welcome ILLEGAL ALIENS—CRIMINALS LIVING NEXT TO your home?? My father had to wait in line as the law requires.

  2. Naja’s back and the Girl’s on fire. Martha K. Huggins

  3. I don’t think our laws should protect an illegal immigrant. They don’t care about entering
    breaking the law. Yes seems the law needs fixed. Perhaps the cops need easy access to run names and if illegal arrest them for that with no bail allowed.
    What some do not see is that they are the problem as will work dirt cheap. The result is the pay scale is far to low for such a costly place to live. Yes deport all of them and create empty housing. End result is rent will be lower, property values along with taxes and insurance will go down and perhaps crime rate will be lower and wages will go up.
    I understand them wanting to live here but enter it the legal way.

  4. I’ve lived all over this Earth. In every country, it’s been my responsibility to prove my legal immigration status. The Sheriff’s Office would be negligent if they released detainees back in to the public without complete knowledge of the persons’ immigration status. I wonder how many of the people who are detained in Monroe County are actually here legally versus the number who are here illegally.

    • Yes , you are 100% correct. Is no reason to not have ID on you even if you are legal. I hope with Trump in office we will deport thousands and clean up not only KW but all of FL.
      As to percentage of illegal I bet near 90%
      Want wages to raise ? then deport them.
      I have been asked for I D even where I live. If not wanted then why not show it.

  5. Yes , you are 100% correct. Is no reason to not have ID on you even if you are legal. I hope with Trump in office we will deport thousands and clean up not only KW but all of FL.
    As to percentage of illegal I bet near 90%
    Want wages to raise ? then deport them.
    I have been asked for I D even where I live. If not wanted then why not show it.

    • If anyone is in this country ILLEGALLY They are CRIMINALS. Any person, Governmental officials who chooses to protect these CRIMINALS Is a CRIMINAL themselves and are guilty of something like aiding and abetting criminals any employer who employed Iredell CRIMINALS Comitting a CRIME. Any landlord who rents to CRIMINALS is Comitting a CRIME For the same reason the. Sheriff has a duty to arrest and hold CRIMINALS. If Your a CRIMINAL in this Country ILLEGALLY GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM. We have enough CRIMINALS in this country and don’t need any more as most of them are Politicians. Nuff said.

  6. As a landlord I dam sure demand to see I D and run background. So this brings up the question of who rents to them. Would be nice if we had a site to go to and view backgrounds easily. I dam sure would let the cops know of anyone wanted or illegal.

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