Probable Cause Needed to Issue Immigration Detainer

The First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently that federal immigration authorities need probable cause to issue an immigration detainer.

The Court found that a naturalized U.S. citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures was violated when she was held on an immigration detainer. The decision clearly held that agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) need probable cause to arrest and detain someone in order to investigate their immigration status.

The lead Plainitff in the case, Ada Morales, a U.S. citizen, was held by state police in 2009 for a fraud investigation. At the conclusion of the fraud investigation, Ms. Morales was ordered released from state custody. However, she was detained further on an immigration detainer while ICE investigated her immigration status. According to the Court, probable cause was needed for her continued detention to review her immigration status, and ICE did not meet that standard.

Support for immigration detainers is waning, and city governments across the country are refusing to honor immigration detainers.

If a family member or friend is detained in immigration custody, please contact Bagia & Associates, PC at (215) 922-5354 for a consultation with an immigration attorney. We are experienced in representing individuals detained by ICE at the York County Detention Center and the Pike County Detention Center.