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Immigration Law

Feds Pay $125K to American Citizen Illegally Imprisoned by ICE

NWIRP, Sept. 21, 2021

"U.S. Government Agrees to $125,000 Settlement for U.S. Citizen’s 7-Day Detention at the Northwest Detention Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 21, 2021

Media contact: Matt Adams, NWIRP
(206) 501-6249; matt@nwirp.org

SEATTLE, WA – Today, Carlos Rios, a citizen of the United States since 2000, agreed to end his lawsuit against the U.S. government after reaching a settlement with the government. The government has agreed to pay Mr. Rios $125,000 for the harm he suffered after being unlawfully detained by immigration authorities in 2019. Mr. Rios, who is a U.S. citizen, was unlawfully detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for seven days at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. Mr. Rios is represented in the case by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP).

As Mr. Rios’s complaint in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington explained, ICE detained him at the Northwest Detention Center despite the fact that he had his U.S. passport in his possession at the time of his arrest and even though he repeatedly told the arresting officers that he is a U.S. citizen. It took a full week after Mr. Rios was taken into federal custody for ICE to finally release him. Mr. Rios’s time in detention was made worse by his placement in solitary confinement, exhibiting a shocking disregard for his rights as a U.S. citizen.

“I cannot understand why I was detained and why no one listened to me,” said Mr. Rios. “I had my U.S. passport with me when I was detained, and I told this to the immigration officers many times. Even now I still feel sad about what happened ‘cause it caused me so much harm, to my family, my job. I hope they don’t do this to anybody else."

“Mr. Rios is another example of what happened during the Trump administration—where immigration officers felt empowered to blatantly trample constitutional rights,” said Matt Adams, legal director for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. “Immigration officers do not have the authority to arrest someone based on a hunch or suspicion—and certainly not based on a person’s apparent race, ethnicity, or the language they speak.”

The complaint can be viewed here."