American Citizen Can Proceed With Lawsuit Against Feds for Illegal Detention, Profiling

American Citizen Can Proceed With Lawsuit Against Feds for Illegal Detention, Profiling

"A federal court in Rhode Island has ruled that the ACLU can proceed with a lawsuit on behalf of a North Providence resident who has twice been held in prison as a deportable “alien” even though she is a U.S. citizen.  The court ruling holds that there are critical constitutional limits on the power of immigration and corrections officials to detain people while investigating their immigration status.  Ada Morales, who was born in Guatemala and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1995, was taken into custody on criminal charges in May 2009.  While she was being held at the ACI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials lodged an “immigration detainer” against her – apparently assuming, based on her race and her place of birth, that she was a deportable non-citizen." - ACLU, Feb. 13, 2014.

"The United States Supreme Court recently reminded the nation of the significance of naturalized United States citizens like Ada Morales.

Immigration policy shapes the destiny of the Nation. [A] dozen immigrants stood before the tattered flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem.  There they took the oath to become American citizens. [citation omitted.] These naturalization ceremonies bring together men and women of different origins who now share a common destiny.  They swear a common oath to renounce fidelity to foreign princes, to defend the Constitution, and to bear arms on behalf of the country when required by law. 8 CFR § 337.1(a) (2012). The history of the United States is in part made of the stories, talents, and lasting contributions of those who crossed oceans and deserts to come here.

Arizona v. United States, 132 S. Ct. at 2510.

According to the allegations in her Complaint, Ms. Morales is one of these Americans who was not treated as a citizen should have been treated. In this case, Ms. Morales has set forth plausible allegations that she was unconstitutionally detained solely based on her national origin and Hispanic last name. She is entitled to press those claims against federal and state officials and to bring forth her evidence to prove them if she can." - Order, Feb. 12, 2014.