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Civil rights attorneys filed court papers Thursday in hopes of stopping deportation proceedings against a South Los Angeles auto mechanic caught up in an allegedly warrantless immigration raid at the garage where he works.
During the Sept. 25 raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at View Park Automotive, agents with guns drawn stormed the shop and ordered Juan Hernandez and others to freeze and put up their hands, ACLU Foundation of Southern California attorneys said. The raid was videotaped by garage security cameras and the footage was posted on YouTube.
Hernandez, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife and young daughter, worked at the shop for seven years and was allegedly detained without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion, according to the motion filed in Los Angeles Immigration Court.
An ICE spokeswoman said that as a matter of policy, the Department of Homeland Security does comment on pending litigation. “However, lack of comment should not be construed as agreement or stipulation with any of the allegations,” Lori K. Haley said. “In DHS’s homeland security mission, our trained law enforcement professionals adhere to the Department’s mission, uphold our laws while continuing to provide our nation with safety and security.”
According to the plaintiffs, Hernandez was asked no questions before he was handcuffed and patted down. An agent finally asked him to identify himself, but before Hernandez could answer, the agent found the wallet in his pocket and took out the California driver’s license, plaintiff attorneys allege.
“Although you wouldn’t know it from the video, the law is clear: ICE is bound to respect its own regulations and the Constitution in the course of its operations,’ said Eva Bitran, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California. “ICE’s arrest-first-ask-questions-later approach to enforcement is not only unlawful, it has real, painful consequences for communities and families like Mr. Hernandez’s.’
Plaintiffs contend that Hernandez was not asked about his immigration status. In fact, they allege, Hernandez didn’t know the men who arrested him were from ICE until he and two other mechanics were put in a black SUV and taken to a downtown immigration processing center. Hernandez was later transferred to the Adelanto Detention Facility and detained until Oct. 31 when he paid a $5,000 bond.
The motion filed in immigration court seeks to terminate deportation proceedings against Hernandez, arguing that officers knew nothing about Hernandez when they decided to detain him than his workplace and “Latino appearance.’
Civil rights lawyers allege Hernandez’s arrest violated regulations that govern ICE enforcement operations. To protect individuals’ right to privacy and provide freedom from racial profiling, such laws permit ICE to make a warrantless arrest only if it has “reason to believe” the person is an “alien illegally in the United States’ and likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained, according to Bitran.
“While this particular incident was caught on video, we frequently hear reports of similar abuses and can only imagine that countless more occur without the victims ever having access to counsel or an opportunity to tell their stories,” said Megan Brewer, an attorney who worked on the case. “ICE’s efforts to remove undocumented non-citizens must not come at the expense of the Constitution and rule of law.”
–City News Service
ICE broke U.S. law during South LA raid, ACLU argues was last modified: December 14th, 2017 by
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Authored by Glen McStanly