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ICE Detentions Illegally Long, Claims Detained Citizen

ICE Detentions Illegally Long, Claims Detained Citizen

A U.S. citizen detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement‘s Chicago field office filed a putative class action March 27 in Illinois federal court alleging that detainees are routinely held longer than the 48-hour maximum established by the courts, in violation of federal immigration law and the Fourth Amendment.

Rony Chavez Aguilar, a Guatemalan-born U.S. citizen currently being held in ICE custody, filed a lawsuit alleging that when ICE Chicago holds those suspected of living in the country without permission, detentions frequently last far longer than the 48-hour maximum before ICE initiates removal proceedings. Chavez, who became a U.S. citizen in 2001, is suing on behalf of all people detained by ICE Chicago for more than 48 hours within the jurisdiction of the Chicago field office, which covers Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin.

“ICE Chicago does not immediately file charges with the immigration court,” the complaint asserts. “Rather, it has a policy and practice of waiting an additional indeterminate amount of time before filing the [Notice to Appear] with the immigration court. … Even after proceedings are initiated, it can be weeks before an individual receives an initial appearance before an immigration judge.”

According to the complaint, Chavez was first arrested by Kentucky law enforcement March 9 and was quickly transferred into custody of ICE’s Chicago field office. Since then, he remained as of Monday in Boone County Jail, an ICE-contracted facility in Burlington, Kentucky, and had not yet been brought before an immigration judge.

Like many ICE arrests, Chavez’s arrest was the result of an administrative warrant issued by an immigration officer and not a warrant signed by a judge, which the complaint argues makes his detention not only unlawful under federal statute, but a violation of the Fourth Amendment as well.

“[Chavez]’s predicament is not unique,” the complaint states. “ICE Chicago detains thousands of people every year under similar circumstances.”

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