Immigration Law

Suit: Feds' Raids Violate Constitution

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Warrantless searches allegedly are being conducted by armed U.S. immigration authorities on Latino-occupied homes in the New York City area where they have no good reason to believe immigrant fugitives are living.

A federal class action lawsuit filed in Manhattan yesterday by 15 plaintiffs contends the feds are conducting such raids on homes at night and early in the morning, in violation of residents’ Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, says the New York Times. In one alleged incident, on Feb. 20, agents raided an East Hampton home whose residents are all here legally, frightening Adriana Aguilar, her mother, and her two children, aged 12 and 4. They were reportedly looking for her ex-husband, but he hadn’t lived there since 2003, when they were divorced and he was ordered deported.

The lawsuit, which was filed by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, seeks unspecified damages. It also requests an injunction to prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement from conducting further raids until ICE develops appropriate guidelines to prevent unlawful entries.

“We would like to find fugitive aliens at 100 percent of the locations we go to, but it’s not an exact science,” said Christopher Shanahan, who directs the New York field office of the ICE’s Detention and Removal Operations, shortly after the February raid. Shanahan, who is now one of the defendants in the class action, could not be reached by the Times for comment on the suit.

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