Minnesota county sheriffs warned about unconstitutional immigration detention

CitizenshipThe American Civil Liberties Union has written to all country sheriffs in Minnesota urging them to cease complying with immigration detention requests, given that more and more federal court decisions are turning against the practice.  Many courts have declared the requests to be unconstitutional and some local law enforcement establishments could find themselves being held liable for monetary damages if they continue to go along with them.

“The growing spate of federal court decisions should serve as an important warning for local law enforcement throughout Minnesota,” says Minnesota ACLU staff attorney Ian Bratlie.  “Detaining people based on suspected civil immigration violations without probable cause not only wastes scarce local public safety resources and contradicts our sense of fairness, it violates the fourth amendment to the US constitution.”

Immigration detentions take place when someone is arrested for any reason and booked into jail.  The jail then sends this information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which then singles people out based on data such as them being overseas or having a hit on fingerprints in the ICE database.  A number of jails also report people to Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they suspect they are holding someone who does not have citizenship.  The person can be held for as long as six days at ICE’s request.

The ACLU highlights the fact that the ICE detainer does not constitute a warrant and has not been approved by a judge, that no finding has been made against an individual’s legal status, and that there is not even probable cause.