Judge Rules Lawsuit Against Border Patrol in Pac. NW May Move Forward

Judge Rules Lawsuit Against Border Patrol in Pac. NW May Move Forward

"On Monday, August 27, 2012, Federal District Court Judge Benjamin Settle issued an order denying the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit targeting unlawful U.S. Border Patrol actions in the Olympic Peninsula.  The lawsuit seeks to end the Border Patrol’s practice of stopping vehicles and interrogating occupants without legal justification.  The suit was filed by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) and ACLU of Washington.  Filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, on April 26, 2012, the lawsuit asserts that the Border Patrol’s stops on the Peninsula that are not based on reasonable suspicion violate constitutional rights, and it seeks a court injunction barring such unlawful stops in the future.   The lawsuit is brought on behalf of three U.S. citizens who were stopped and interrogated by the Border Patrol, and is also seeking to represent a class of other individuals threatened by similar treatment.  The government filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Plaintiffs could not demonstrate that they might suffer from similar treatment in the future.  But  Judge Settle rejected their arguments, holding that if Plaintiffs’ allegations are accepted, they “have sufficiently shown that they are likely to suffer substantial and immediate irreparable injury.”  The Court noted that one of the Plaintiffs alleges that he has been stopped three times and seized at least twice: “At this stage in the litigation these allegations are sufficient to show that there is a real and immediate threat that he will be ‘wronged again.’” - NWIRP/ACLU, Aug. 28, 2012.