Immigration Lawyers Take The Fight To ICE

(Updated with text of lawsuit.) Ten New Haven residents are filing suit against the federal agents behind the 2007 New Haven immigration raids. They claim that their arrests were an unlawful retaliation for the city’s immigrant-friendly ID card program.

When Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers swept into town on June 6, 2007, they rounded up 29 immigrants who had allegedly entered the country illegally.

In June, Yale attorneys successfully derailed deportation orders against five of those arrested, since ICE agents had entered their homes unconstitutionally.

Now, the Yale Law School students are going on the offensive. On Wednesday they’ll file a lawsuit on behalf of 10 of the people arrested in 2007. The suit will argue that ICE agents violated their constitutional rights, that ICE supervisors orchestrated the raids as retaliation for the creation of the Elm City ID card, and that high-level ICE officials failed to supervise their staff.

Read the lawsuit here.

In a statement released by the Yale lawyers, one of the plaintiffs describes his experience of the raids. “‘ICE agents broke into my home without permission while I was still sleeping, pulled the covers from my bed, and arrested me for no reason,’ said Jose Solano-Yangua, a plaintiff in the case. ‘I was terrified and humiliated. We are bringing this suit, because we refuse to let our families and community live in fear.’”

There are three different types of defendants, said Valarie Kaur, a Yale student working on the case.

The first level is the ICE agents who “directly participated in the raids.” These agents violated Fourth Amendment rights by entering homes without warrants and without consent, Kaur said.

The second level of defendant is a group of ICE officials in Hartford who were “mobilizing against” New Haven because of the Elm City identity cards, Kaur said. It’s no coincidence that the raids were conducted just 36 hours after the ID card program started, the lawyers argue.

Evidence supporting the retaliation charge comes from ICE emails gathered after a Freedom of Information Act request by local Latino-advocacy groups Unidad Latino En Accion and Junta For Progressive Action, Kaur said. The memos show that ICE officials were closely monitoring the progress of the ID card program, criticizing it, and planning to try to stop it, she said. Further, the emails also demonstrate that the officials were “trying to cover up collaboration” as they went.

The third level of defendants is a group of senior ICE officials. They were pushing arrest quotas for immigrants “without adequate supervision and training to prevent constitutional violations,” Kaur said.

The three levels of defendants “all share responsibility for the suffering” of the individuals who were arrested in 2007, Kaur said.

The plaintiffs seek damages and declaratory relief.

In an email message, ICE spokesperson Paula Grenier wrote, “ICE does not comment on matters pending before a court.”

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posted by: City Hall on October 27, 2009  7:48pm


posted by: DingDong on October 27, 2009  10:20pm

In an email message, ICE spokesperson Paula Grenier wrote, “ICE does not comment on matters pending before a court.”

But it’s not pending yet. The article says they are going to file on Wednesday.

posted by: Eli Sillies on October 28, 2009  12:18am

Typical Yalie students - nothing better to do.  Like their clients, they are a drain on society.

posted by: kamb on October 28, 2009  9:38am

Yale has nothing better to do, with their billion dollar, and growing, bank roll.

Why dont Yale lawyers go after people who screw the government and waste our tax dollars by illegally living in government subsidized housing while working under the table.

The Yale money machine keeps rolling, defending ilegaal immigrants while simutaneously KNOCKING DOWN housing and bulding more TAX FREE Yale buildings. ITS A BUNCH OF BS, Thats Yale is selling and I dont mean Bachelors of Science.

posted by: Fair Haven Resident on October 28, 2009  9:42am

Thank God for these Yalies! I can not imagine a more egregious abuse of power by government officials then the retalitory raid ICE conducted in New Haven. Furthermore, I am outraged that my tax dollars are being wasted because of poor supervision and control of subordinates. Finally, precious resources to protect the nation were wasted on kicking in doors and rounding up a bunch of landscapers, not one of these folks arrested were involved in the drug trade or terrorism. Shameful, wasteful, and ridiculous.

These Yalies are not to blame but the people who planned, approved, and carried out these raids, and the superiors.

posted by: bill on October 28, 2009  9:48am

They are nothing but more greedy lawyers who, if they win, will profit from the tax payers. Lawyers are no different than gamblers at the casino, gambling they may get lucky and hit the jackpot.

posted by: lance on October 28, 2009  11:03am

This e-publication should be renamed “The New Haven Far Left”.

posted by: Silly Lance on October 28, 2009  4:20pm

I am grateful for the reporting of the NHI. While some might ignorantly suggest that there is a “leftist” agenda, I think the comprehensive reporting of issues facing New Haven is unmatched by anyother media outlet.


posted by: HewNaven?? on October 28, 2009  6:29pm

The NHI comment section has been resembling the Register’s more and more. It’s dominated by mostly knee-jerk reactions and plainly absurd inferences.

To Lance, et al: since you all seem to have plenty of time to “weigh in” on these issues (since you are often the first ones to respond), why not spend a little more of that time on research and give us something more insightful to chew on.

Political and personal biases have no place in a meaningful dialogue. The NHI can either be a forum of ideas or a pit of ignorance, you decide.

posted by: SS on October 29, 2009  12:23am

Illegality does not beget legality.
This means, if you are an illegal alien, you have no Rights let alone any Right to any and all forms of Social Programs/Public Services (Police/Fire/Parks, Education, etc.) as this is Theft of Services.

Children born under illegal aliens are also illegal.  The 14th Amendment was only for the children of the Slaves.  Not for any alien who drops by, pops out a kid(s) and then soaks the system for all its worth which is nothing now given our debt.

Now, for the Moral and Ethical side of things:

You do not put your People last under any circumstance.  Not for Jobs, Education, Welfare, nothing and especially when you have no money like “We” have no money now. 

Also, putting Americans in jail for breaking the Law in America while giving illegal aliens not only a free pass but benefits to boot is nothing short of Treason.

posted by: Alan Felder on October 29, 2009  1:02am

What has the Yale Law Students done for young Black men in the City of New Haven?

posted by: HewNaven?? on October 29, 2009  2:53pm

To SS:

Reread the Bill of Rights carefully. It makes no mention of qualifications for protection. When referring to “who” is protected it simply says “The People,” in contrast to “the government.”

Are you claiming illegal immigrants are not people?

posted by: Sillier than Lance on October 29, 2009  3:10pm

There are ignorant forces that seem to think that pairing one group against another is good for the community. SS, Alan and et al love to speak about law, when in fact they have no clue about the reality of the situation of the undocumented immigrant.

It is a civil violation, not a criminal violation of the law. Sorry, that is just the way the law treats these cases. Misplaced anger and frustation should not be an excuse for rabble rousing ignorant comments that just harm everyone.

posted by: TechnoDan on October 29, 2009  9:26pm

To “HEWNAVEN?”: So, everyone in the world, including our greatest enemies, have legal standing in our courts and before our law just as great as any citizen of this country?  That, my friend, is insane, and will lead to national suicide.

To “SILLIER THAN LANCE”: Sorry, if an illegal is thrown out of the US and then returns they are, in fact, felons, and thus are CRIMINALS.

posted by: Bob Solomon on October 29, 2009  11:20pm

To Alan Felder - The Yale Law students represent-

1.  the Dixwell Plaza Merchants Association
2.  St. Luke’s Development Corporation
3.  Hannah Gray Home
4.  Greater Dwight Development Corporation
5.  Victims of domestic violence
6.  As far as I know, we are the only lawyers and law students to go to prisons to represent inmates
7.  tenants in evictions
8. victims of subprime fraud
9. victims of predatory lending
we have also represented literally hundreds of young men and women with HIV or other debilitating illnesses, applicants for political asylum, children in danger of being removed from their families, school children facing unfair discipline or seeking services, homeless people with a range of problems, victms of consumer ripoffs, victims of human traficking, and others.  You can find much more detail on the Yale Law School web site, under “Clinical Programs.”