Judge: Immigrants’ rights violated in raids

A federal judge has halted the deportation of four New Haven residents arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents during raids in Fair Haven in 2007.

In decisions filed last week, Immigration Judge Michael Straus said that the actions committed against the residents were “egregious” violations of their Fourth Amendment rights and that ICE’s lack of cooperation in providing evidence to justify its actions at the raids led him to issue the ruling. It remains unclear whether ICE officials will appeal.

ICE agents detained 32 immigrants from several Fair Haven residences on June 6, 2007. The raids came 36 hours after the New Haven Board of Aldermen voted to approve the Elm City Resident Card, though ICE officials have refuted City Hall’s claim that the raids were conducted in retaliation for the approval of the ID program.

In January, Straus ruled that for the cases of six detained New Haven residents, agents who made the arrests must defend their actions, which included arriving at homes in the early morning and entering residences without consent or warrants. The next month, officials at ICE — an arm of the Department of Homeland Security — refused to provide testimony from the agents and instead supplied only an affidavit by the arresting agents’ supervisory officer.

That was not enough, Straus said. “[The supervisory officer] wholly lacks personal knowledge with respect to the event of entry,” the judge wrote. “This scant evidence is unsubstantiated hearsay and, at points, hearsay upon hearsay.”

The government now has a month to appeal the ruling.

“[But if] the government doesn’t appeal, it’s as if like [the raids] never happened,” said Anant Saraswat LAW ’09, a representative of the team of Yale Law School students and faculty members who helped to defend the four residents.

A spokeswoman for ICE, Paula Grenier, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Straus has not yet ruled on the remaining two cases.


  • Anonymous

    They broke the law to get here.How many laws are they allowed to brake before they are treated the same way an american citizen would be treated? One, Two , Three or no amount applies?

  • Andrew

    Kudos to the law school people involved in this defense. A question for them (or anyone else who knows): so assume that the judge's ruling stands and the search is annulled, then what for the immigrants? I understand how it would work if the officers were searching for , say, drugs; the defendant counts his blessings that he got off the hook, and goes on with daily life. But now the cat's out of the bag that these four guys are illegal and will continue to be illegal as long as they are in the country, so aren't they effectively forced to return to wherever they came from originally anyway?

  • silli79

    Not in New Haven, it's a Sanctuary City where federal law can be flouted. They'll be able to stay, and the fine people at Yale Law School will line uo to file a lawsuit on their behalf. It's amazing the way "undocumented residents" are allowed to cheerfully disregard the nations laws. In most other countries they'd face stiff penalties and deportation. And these are the same countries that complain about OUR immigration enforcement. Go figure.

  • Dan

    I believe that if the case falls on the side of the immigrants (which by God I hope it does), they have to be treated by authorities as if their immigration status was never known. In response to the first comment, when people from other countries enter this country, they are entitled to the same constitutional rights as citizens. This is a long established rule. ICE clearly violated these constitutional rights, and thus, the seizure was illegal. I am from Danbury, CT where we had a very similar problem, and the immigrant victims of our illegal seizure are also being defended by Yale law students. In the case in Danbury, Danbury police officers drove a truck to the part of town where many immigrants wait for the first half of the day to be picked up for assorted jobs. The police officers then solicited men for work, but instead of driving them to a work site, they drove them to a field where ICE was waiting to arrest them. No one was targeted specifically, which, in my mind, makes what the police officers did even worse. They just grabbed whoever they could in the expectation that they were illegal. They then sent the men to prisons spread throughout the country (from Texas to Massachusetts), without even checking their immigration status. They didn't let the men call their homes either. It was as if they just disappeared. Police officers have no authority to collaborate with ICE on issues related to immigration. The rights of these men were violated, and the perpetrators should be punished.

  • drudge

    Police enforce the laws of the land, be they municipal, state or federal. Basically you're demanding special consideration to have a whole section of US Code be declared moot. They have already violated Federal Law by being in the country, a point the supporters of illegal aliens continually seem to gloss over. A law has been violated, what other laws do you suggest we overlook in the eye of political correctness? Shall we now demand the EU and Central American countries afford illegal immigrants the same rights under their constitutions? They certainly don't now. We may sympathize with these "undocumented citizens", but the law is in place for a reason. If New Haven feels it can refuse to obey Federal Law, what right does the city have to expect anyone to follow it's laws and municipal codes? You can now choose to simply ignore any law you disagree with. If one chooses not to rent an apartment to or employ an illegal alien one is justified as the Federal Law has been nullified. You can't have it both ways, If one Federal law doesn't apply then none apply. Let's seehow that work's out in court.

  • robert99

    Were they illegal aliens? If so they have few "rights" since they don't belong here. Kick their butts back to wherever they came from. End of story.

  • Anonymous

    One way or the other, the mere fact that people might be doing illegal things DOES NOT give authorities license to violate the laws by which they are bound.

  • Anonymous

    The age-old pesky U.S.-Mexico border problem has taxed the resources of both countries, led to long lists of injustices, and appears to be heading only for worse troubles in the future. Guess what? The border problem can never be solved. Why? Because the border IS the problem! It's time for a paradigm change.

    Never fear, a satisfying, comprehensive solution is within reach: the Megamerge Dissolution Solution. Simply dissolve the border along with the failed Mexican government, and megamerge the two countries under U.S. law, with mass free 2-way migration eventually equalizing the development and opportunities permanently, with justice and without racism, and without threatening U.S. sovereignty or basic principles.

    Take time to read my proposal for a new U.S.-Mexico paradigm by Googling "Megamerge Dissolution Solution".

  • Joe

    We need separatism to help preserve peace.We can no longer maintain this fallacious, unnatural and corrupt system.