With President Trump’s mass deportation machine kicking into high gear, immigrants in Marion County can rest a little easier under the terms of an agreement affirmed by a federal court last week.
Under the agreement, Marion County Sheriff’s Department will stop imprisoning immigrants without probable cause or a warrant. Previously, Hoosiers such as our client Antonio Lopez-Aguilar were detained in jail and funneled into deportation proceedings solely on the basis of a “detainer request” from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
ICE uses these detainers – or immigration holds – to bully local authorities into imprisoning immigrants, many of whom have done nothing wrong, and funneling them into deportation proceedings.
This raises serious constitutional concerns.
Depriving someone of their freedom without due process is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. And in November 2014, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged “the increasing number of federal court decisions that hold that detainer-based detention by state and local law enforcement agencies violates the Fourth Amendment.”
In addition to violating immigrants’ basic constitutional rights, this kind of cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities also undermines public safety. If immigrants are reluctant to show up in court or report a crime out of fear they may be deported, everyone will be less safe.
That’s why the ACLU of Indiana successfully sued on Lopez-Aguilar’s behalf and reached an agreement with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department that will help protect due process rights – and slow down Trump’s mass deportation machine.
The agreement is a victory for all Hoosiers and a testament to the courage of our client. But there is still more work to be done to ensure local immigration agencies deliver on their commitment to protect and serve – not detain and deport.
The ACLU of Indiana will continue to defend the rights of Hoosiers and stop local police from getting entangled in the Trump-Pence administration’s deportation force.