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Immigrant group in Va. sues ICE over ‘collateral arrests’ it calls unconstitutional

By: The Washington Post , Antonio Olivo //August 23, 2017

Immigrant group in Va. sues ICE over ‘collateral arrests’ it calls unconstitutional

By: The Washington Post , Antonio Olivo //August 23, 2017//

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Immigrant advocates in Virginia filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against four federal immigration agents over a practice known as “collateral arrests” that have helped boost the number of illegal immigrants apprehended under the Trump administration.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., claims that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents violated the constitutional rights of two men who are in the country illegally but have been otherwise law-abiding by detaining them without reasonable suspicion.

The ICE agents encountered Mynor Abdiel Tun-Cus and Jose Pajarito Saput on their way to work and asked about another man who hadn’t lived at the Fairmont Gardens apartments for about five years, according to the lawsuit filed by the Legal Aid Justice Center in Northern Virginia, which seeks unspecified damages.

Unable to find their intended target, the ICE agents then took Tun-Cus and Saput into custody after determining they are undocumented immigrants, the lawsuit says. Tun-Cus and Saput have since been released but await federal deportation proceedings.

Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, director of the Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program, argued that many such “collateral arrests” of undocumented immigrants who’ve been convicted of no other crimes violate constitutional protections against illegal search and seizure and that guarantee due process.

Under the Trump administration, arrests of immigrants with no criminal records more than doubled to 5,441 during the first four months of the year, federal data in April showed.

In the Farmont Gardens case, the ICE agents appeared indifferent to whether they found their intended target or not, Sandoval-Moshenberg said.

“What they really wanted was to find some warm bodies, which is what they did,” he said.

An ICE spokesman declined to comment on the pending litigation.

But, in a statement, the agency said ICE agents arrest all people who are in the country illegally.

“ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy,” the statement said. “ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”

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