Ensuring the safety and security of our communities
(Washington, D.C.) - The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the court brief (attached here) in Miami federal district court defending the March 2017, decision by Miami police to detain a suspected alien they had arrested for assault on a pregnant woman. Miami police held Garland Creedle for deportation as a suspected Honduran criminal alien at the request of federal immigration officers, only to discover that ICE had mistakenly identified Creedle, who was actually a U.S. citizen and should have been released from a Miami jail two days earlier. Creedle then sued Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez for violating his constitutional rights.
Under the Fourth Amendment no arrest can be made unless it was "reasonable" under the circumstances. In January 2017, Miami had reviewed its policies regarding cooperation with federal immigration authorities, and directed the police department to honor immigration detainers for which there was probable cause. Detainers are written requests to hold a suspected illegal alien in custody until ICE can take the alien to an immigration detention center, where a removal hearing will be initiated to determine whether the alien has the right to remain in the U.S. or must be returned to his home country. Removal is not a criminal matter, so removal hearings do not require a criminal trial.
"No court has ever held that absolute certainty is required to arrest an illegal alien, whether for immigration violations or a federal or state crime," explained IRLI Director of Litigation Christopher Hajec. "In immigration cases local police must rely on information they obtain from ICE. Only specially trained local police can unilaterally enforce immigration laws, under a written agreement with the Department of Homeland Security. But Congress has invited police officers nationwide to cooperate with ICE with no agreement required. Cooperation means police must confirm with federal authorities that a suspect is an immigration violator, and can then detain the alien on behalf of the federal government."
IRLI prepared a detailed briefing for the federal court to help counter a wave of lawsuits that have tried to argue that local police can only arrest an illegal alien when a crime has been committed, and immigration violations are not crimes.
"This unusual scenario, when police arrested a known petty criminal and then relied on a mistaken request from ICE to hold Mr. Creedle as an illegal alien for two days beyond the date he would have posted bond for the assault charge, shows how cooperation between local and federal law enforcement has to work," noted Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI Executive Director and General Counsel. "The police must be able to rely on a federal immigration request without risking a civil rights lawsuit. Otherwise our immigration enforcement system would collapse to the benefit of the tens of thousands of illegal aliens who engage in criminal activity after they reach our shores."
Shortly after the March 2017 arrest, ICE began a policy of attaching a civil arrest warrant to each detainer request, with a legal statement of "probable cause" that an immigration enforcement statute has been violated.
"The law of the land and the command of Congress is that illegal aliens have no right to be in America undetected and unapprehended. When lawyers and radical activists seek to carve out sanctuaries for illegal aliens by hand-cuffing the cop on the beat, it's an abuse of our Constitution and threat to public safety," Wilcox concluded. "The touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is reasonableness. Mayor Gimenez' policy is reasonable, constitutional and vital. Our brief carefully explains why."
The case is Garland Creedle v. Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade County, No. 1:17-c22477-Civ-Williams/Torres (U.S. Dist. Ct. So. FL 2017).
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