When ICE Agents’ Actions Can Cause Dismissal Of Immigration Charges?
Author: Deportation attorney Alena Shautsova
How many of you think that ICE agents (Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency) have power to do whatever they want? How many of you have heard stories that they come to a home at 5 am and search the premises and “pick up” illegal immigrants? How many of you think it is legal?
Well, the ICE officers can come to non-citizen’s home, but they still have to confirm their actions to the Constitutional norms and do not have a carte blanche to do whatever they want even if the non-citizen is an undocumented worker. This principal was one more time confirmed by the recent BIA decision in Matter of Ixpec-Chitay, 9/16/13.
One early morning Miguel was awaken by the sound of several cars in the street and loud voices “Police! Police!” Those were Federal ICE agents, trying to get Miguel for being in the country illegally. They knocked at the door ordering the people in the house to open it; they entered the house without invitation, grabbed Miguel out of his bed, hitting him with flashlights, interrogating him, and searching the entire home, and all cabinet and draws.
Immediately, the ICE officers arrested Miguel and charged him with being a citizen of a foreign country who stayed in the US without authorization. The DHS even produced Miguel ’ birth certificate showing a foreign country as a place of birth. The DHS believed that they can sustain their charges against Miguel without a problem, but the Immigration Judge’s decision was “not so fast.” After hearing both sides, the Immigration judge ruled that charges against Miguel had to be dismissed. Why? Because of the ICE’s officers egregious behavior. To wit: the ICE officers are Federal agents, and should have known better: first, they could enter Miguel ’ home only pursuant to a valid warrant or invitation (consent); second, the ICE officers did not have a warrant to search the house and did not obtain a consent to search the house; third, the officers seized Miguel without any reasonable suspicion, and subjected Miguel to interrogation. As such, the officers completely “forgot” about the US Constitutional 4th Amendement Rights, and all the “evidence” obtained as a result of the violation must be suppressed and the Immigration charges dropped.
Several years later, and a few court hearings, Miguel has won his case. But how many non-citizens are out there who will surrender to the abusive conduct and forfeit their rights?