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Immigrants claim raid was retaliation for ID cards

Immigrants claim raid was retaliation for ID cards

Ten New Haven residents filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing federal agents of violating their rights with an immigration raid they contend was in retaliation for a new ID program.
The sweeps in New Haven on June 6, 2007, came two days after the city approved issuing identification cards to all of its residents, regardless of immigration status _ the first of its kind in the nation.
"The New Haven raids were not a product of routine immigration enforcement," the lawsuit states. It added that federal agents "deliberately chose to conduct raids in New Haven in retaliation for the city's efforts to improve public safety for all its residents by integrating immigrants and Latinos into civic life."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have denied that the early morning raids were retaliatory, saying planning began the year before.
Spokesmen for the U.S. Attorney's office and ICE declined comment, citing the pending lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, cites e-mails between federal officials that the residents say show hostility to the ID card program and an intent to stop it.
One e-mail from the U.S. Attorney's Office on March 28, 2007, disclosed that an ICE official "had been talking to his headquarters about the fact that New Haven is becoming a sanctuary city."
ICE's first and only raid of the year included just 33 New Haven-area addresses in their target list when there were 5,500 outstanding warrants for fugitives, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit alleges ICE agents broke into homes without search warrants or consent and arrested residents based on their race or ethnicity.
In June, a federal judge ruled that agents violated the constitutional rights of four immigrants in the raids. Immigration Judge Michael Straus said the ICE agents went into the immigrants' homes without warrants, probable cause or their consent, and he put a stop to deportation proceedings against the four defendants, whose names were not released.
Yale Law School students are representing the immigrants.
Of the 32 arrested, none remains in custody, according to the Yale students. Of the 19 that Yale represents, 4 agreed to leave the country, 10 are still fighting their cases and five won motions to suppress evidence, according to the students.
The lawsuit, which names former and current ICE officials as defendants, seeks damages and a judgment that the officials violated the Constitution.


Updated : 2021-04-12 06:33 GMT+08:00