Eleven men claiming immigration agents violated their constitutional rights during 2007 raids on their Fair Haven homes won a settlement from the U.S. government of $350,000 on Tuesday, according to NBC Connecticut.
The lawsuit, originally filed in October 2009, describes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents forcefully entering four households without consent or search warrants, sometimes with guns drawn. Critics, including Mayor John DeStefano Jr., charged that the federal raid was retaliation for the city’s decision to offer resident identification cards to individuals, regardless of immigration status.
“Without cause or reasonable suspicion, ICE agents interrogated and arrested residents based on their skin color and physical appearance,” the 2009 complaint reads. “In some cases, agents arrested people in front of their families and young children.”
An ICE spokesman said the settlement — which according to some could be the largest ever paid by the federal government over residential immigration raids — is not an admission of liability on part of the U.S. government, but is intended to divert additional time and funding from being spent on further litigation.
Deportation proceedings against the men have been dropped, according to their attorneys.