Connecticut Judge rules that illegal aliens rounded up in deportation raid can sue top immigration officials and agents

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A federal judge in the U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut ruled last week that the civil rights of a group of illegal aliens were violated when immigration officials rounded them up in raid and jailed them. In a controversial move, Judge Stefan Underhill ruled that the immigrants could bring direct legal action against immigration agents as well as top officials, including the agency’s then-national director, Julie L. Meyers. The immigrants are also suing the U.S. government.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency asked that the lawsuit be dismissed on the grounds that senior agency officials could not be held personally liable in that they were far removed from the action, and that immigration agents could not be sued for doing their jobs.

The raids took place in New Haven, and were part of a national campaign called “Return to Sender.” Immigration agents in four teams arrested 32 immigrants, mostly from Mexico, while they were in their apartments. The raids took place in the summer of 2007.

The 11 plaintiffs in the case were represented by a group of lawyers and students from Yale Law School. The Yale lawyers claimed that the immigration officials had no right to enter the homes of the illegal aliens and arresting them and by doing so, violated their 4th, 5th and 10th Amendment rights. They also alleged that those arrested were treated unfairly based on race.

The city of New Haven had been in the process of adopting policies to make it easier for illegal immigrants to live and work in the area. Two days before the raids, the city’s board of Aldermen approved a measure that would issue identification cards to the city’s estimated 15,000 illegal immigrants.

The mayor of New Haven, John DeStafano Jr., who supported the card program, said he believed the raids by federal immigration agents were intended to punish the city for operating a sanctuary program.

Over two dozen lawsuits were filed by plaintiff lawyers stemming from the raids, but the civil rights case filed by the workers and the Immigration Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School has received the most attention because of its strategy to personally go after the agents and senior officials.

Federal officials say that the raids were legally conducted and were part of a national operation to help clear a backlog of “fugitive aliens” with outstanding deportation orders.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers said that only five of the 32 arrested had deportation orders, while only 2 had criminal records.

The lawsuit singles out senior ICE official John Torres who they say, shifted the focus of agents from arresting fugitives, to ordinary illegal aliens that posed no danger to the public. They say that he created a quota system, approved by Myers, which set a goal of arresting and deporting 1,000 fugitives per year, of which one-half could be illegals that were picked up during raids for the fugitives.

Muneer Ahmed, a Yale law professor on the case said that the ICE argued that immigration law precluded the case from being heard in the federal court. “I think that other courts will pay attention to it, and I think that ICE will pay attention to it,” Ahmad said. “ICE has long maintained that it should have a kind of immunity from suit that other law enforcement officials don’t have.”

A recently retired ICE agent, John Sakelires, commenting on the ruling said “this suit is nothing more than a transparent and feeble attempt to scare ICE agents into refusing to enforce the immigration laws of this country. Can you spell intimidation? When it goes to trial, my guess is the agents will be exonerated and what should happen is that the government should seek fees for wasting taxpayer money in defending a baseless lawsuit,” Sakelarides said. “Extortion is still illegal in this country. The far reaching implications claim is a clear indication of what the intent of this lawsuit is, namely intimidation.”

“This is borderline criminal. If the agents did something wrong, so be it. But if they didn’t and this suit is being brought simply to induce a chilling effect on the enforcement of the immigration law, then these idealistic and naive law students and Yale Law School ought to be held accountable,” Sakelarides finished.

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Comments (9)
  1. GuitarMan says:

    Judge Stefan Underhill needs to be scraped off the bench then tried for treason and imprisoned for life with NO CHANCE OF PAROLE !!!

    • Jane says:

      All gov’t attorneys in Corruptuct are Political hacks. Federal courts and CT state courts use the Political appointment and approval process to hand pick attorneys to do their bidding. CT has a been a Blue Rat run corrupt Entity for decades with same career scum pulling the strings and filling their pockets. The Name of this State has been Official Changed by The People to Corrupticut where crooks like Dodd, Liberman and Blumenthal Kings of deception, fraud and cover ups.

  2. John says:

    Illegal is not a race it is a choice and an action this judge needs to be recalled and this mentality needs to be punished. Illegal is Illegal not anything else. This is a total waste of time for the legal system and the Judge and lawyers need to pay for wasting everyone’s time.

  3. Publius says:

    There a number of things that can be done and the people that were arrested are here illegally and not citizens of the Untied States so therefore they do not have full constitutionally protected rights of a natural born or naturalized citizen of the United States, but it is our founders vision that all charged with a crime in our country are extended fair treatment in our legal system. Now this judge of making law from the bench something he or she should know better not to do and also conspiring with a corrupt political agenda with some from inside and outside Washington DC. Now many don’t know our constitution and bill of rights!!!
    11. Amendment of the Constitution of the United States ratified in 1798,
    The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

  4. walt235 says:

    Off the court?!? He needs to be shot!

  5. […] rounded up in deportation raid can sue top immigration officials and agents December 21st, 2010 Connecticut Judge rules that illegal aliens rounded up in deportation raid can sue top immigration o… A federal judge in the U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut ruled last week that the […]

  6. walt235 says:

    We should start hanging some wetbacks on the border as warnings to others!

  7. walt235 says:

    Anyone want to bet the lawyers and students from Yale are jooz!?!

  8. CASPER says:

    These parasites better hope this doesnt come to the streets, which I think it will, because they will be shot wholesale. I am god dam tired of the MS13 parsites thinking that they are all tough….wait till they get a dose of the militia they wont be able to get to their crap hole country of origin fast enough!

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