Atwater 5 to appeal

Two weeks ago, five immigrants were denied a chance to appeal deportation. But, they may now have a chance to have their cases dismissed.

Following the June 2007 raids on Atwater Street in Fair Haven, 16 immigrants were identified for deportation. Eleven of the 16 were given the opportunity to appeal their cases by Judge Michael Straus based on their conviction that those Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids had violated their constitutional rights. Though the remaining five — the “Atwater Five” — were initially denied the right to appeal by Straus, they will now have such an opportunity. A team of attorneys from the Yale Law School, headed by Clinical Professor Michael Wishnie, will represent the immigrants.

Initially, Straus stated that there was not a firm justification to hear the dismissal of the Atwater Five’s cases. However, on Monday Straus withdrew his earlier decision and granted permission for the Atwater Five to testify with the other 11 in pursuit of having their cases thrown out. This announcement lacked any reason from the judge as to why he decided to reverse his stance, but it was met with gratitude by the Yale Law School attorneys representing the 16 individuals.

“This is an important case not just for immigrants’ rights, but for Constitutional rights,” the Yale attorneys wrote in a statement to the News. “When the government violates those rights for one group of people, all of us are put at risk.”

The team of attorneys claims that the immigrants’ Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights were infringed, citing unlawful searches and a lack of legal due process. ICE denies the charges against it.

Cross-examination will occur at the next hearing on Oct. 27.

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