Saturday, February 21, 2009

Expect more of this under Eric Holder's regime

Judge blocks man's deportation, citing his mistreatment after arrest
By Brandon Lowrey, Staff Writer
Updated: 02/21/2009 01:07:03 AM PST

A federal judge has ruled that an undocumented worker was mistreated during his arrest by immigration agents, so he cannot be deported - a ruling that attorneys say may extend to dozens of other illegal immigrants arrested in the same raid.
Gregorio Perez Cruz, 24, was among 138 people arrested during a raid on Micro Solutions Enterprises in Van Nuys on Feb. 7, 2008. He and more than 100 other suspects complained they were mistreated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and about 40 have challenged their deportation orders.
While the 19-page ruling allows only Perez Cruz to remain in the U.S., his attorney said it sets a precedent for the others arrested in the same raid.
"The implication of the decision is that many of the people, probably everyone arrested in the Van Nuys raid, will have their case dismissed," said attorney Ahilan Arulananthm, who is director of immigrants rights and national security for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Valerie Kice, a spokeswoman for ICE, said the agency will appeal the decision.
ICE officials also have denied allegations that they acted improperly when they raided the printer-cartridge company and demanded proof that employees were authorized to work in the United States.
But the ruling issued Feb. 12 by U.S. Immigration Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor includes allegations by Perez Cruz that his civil rights were violated during his incarceration.
"(Perez Cruz) states he
was held in a cold concrete cell overnight and forced to sleep on the concrete flooring," the ruling said. "He was also deprived of food and drinking water for approximately 18 hours.
"Under these conditions, ICE agents questioned (him) without informing him of the reasons for his arrest or that his statements could be used against him in removal proceedings."
Tabaddor, who is a former attorney with the Office of Immigration Litigation at the Department of Justice, ruled ICE agents violated Perez Cruz's rights and the agency's own policy by detaining him without having prior evidence that he was in the country illegally.
She also ruled ICE could not use Perez Cruz's responses or his Mexican birth certificate against him, because the evidence was obtained from an illegal investigation.
Kice declined to discuss specifics of the evidence but said other civil cases have been filed as a result of the Van Nuys raid.
Workplace raids may have had a role in reducing illegal immigration, according to "Homeward Bound," a report published last July by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.
Through May 2008, the number of illegal immigrants in the country declined by 1.3 million people compared with the peak during the previous summer. The center estimates the current illegal population at 11.2 million.
Perez Cruz said he hopes to move forward now, but sought to encourage some of the other workers who are still fighting to remain in the country.
"I was mistreated. Everybody there was mistreated," Perez Cruz said through a translator. "Like criminals. Like animals. They treated us unjustly."
He said he's now having a tough time finding work in the rough economy to support his wife and 6-month-old child.
"I'm hoping that not only it will help the others here in Van Nuys," Perez Cruz said, "but it will have a national impact."

No comments: