Advocates say federal raids violate immigrants’ civil rights

Civil rights groups yesterday released a report claiming that the raids carried out by immigration agents against undocumented immigrants in Atlanta, Texas and North Carolina were undertaken without warrants, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The report alleges that authorities entered homes without the consent of the occupants while denying them legal access.

The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center released the report, which also alleges that the female immigrants raided were forced to sign legal documents of which they had no understanding. In addition, women and children who had a valid claim to immigration relief were taken into detention before they had exhausted their legal options.

The report also claims that a number of those detained had previously been given permission to stay in the United States by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and that the raids had been deliberately targeted at jurisdictions known to have weak protections in place with regard to due process. According to the report, 77 of the 121 adults and minors detained in this month’s raids have already been deported.

“The tactics employed by ICE agents also raise serious legal questions,” the two rights groups claim in the report. “The United States must address the humanitarian crisis in Central America, not resort to unconstitutional tactics that punish those we are bound by law to protect.”

Many immigrant advocates have criticized the raids; however, ICE says warrants are not needed when carrying out the orders of immigration judges and denies entering homes without consent.