UCI Immigrant Rights Clinic joins ACLU in lawsuit against Homeland Security patrols

The ACLU and the UCI School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Department of Homeland Security, saying they want to see records on “roving” patrols that have border agents stopping and detaining people as far as south Orange County.

The lawsuit in federal court follows unanswered Freedom of Information Act requests to both DHS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection last summer that seek information about the agency’s operations, which can reach as far as 100 miles north of the Mexico border.

“In the course of these operations, federal agents routinely disregard the legal limitations on their authority and violate the civil rights of California residents and visitors. Yet DHS refuses to hold agents accountable and ignores basic requests for information about these abusive practices,” said Mitra Ebadolahi, an attorney with the ACLU Foundation of San Diego.

A spokesman for the border agency declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Border patrol agents check transportation routes and routinely patrol the cities of San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and Dana Point, spokesman Ralph DeSio said in an interview last year. Their role, he said then, “is to protect America and safeguard the American homeland at and beyond our borders.”

At the time, immigrant rights advocates had rallied behind a mother of six who was picked up by Border Patrol agents while she was on her way home from grocery shopping in San Juan Capistrano. Victoria Delgado Arteaga was released following a campaign by RAIZ, an Orange County group of young advocates working to end deportations.

“The community has been a victim of Border Patrol raids for years,” said Alexis Nava Teodoro, who organized the efforts to win her release and now works for the ACLU in Orange County.

The lawsuit said that a similar ACLU request in New York in 2011 found that most stops did not target recent crossers, happened far from the border, and only 1 percent ended in deportation proceedings. Some stops included racial profiling and arrests of people who were in the country legally, ACLU representatives said.

Last fiscal year, agents apprehended 29,911 people in the San Diego-Orange County sector, DeSio said.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7829 or rkopetman@ocregister.com

Source Article from http://www.ocregister.com/articles/border-650831-aclu-agents.html
UCI Immigrant Rights Clinic joins ACLU in lawsuit against Homeland Security patrols
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