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US immigration home raids violate constitution: report

[JURIST] Federal immigration agents conducting home raids have committed numerous constitutional violations, according a report [text, PDF] released Wednesday by the Immigration Justice Clinic [academic website] at the Cardozo School of Law. The report found that, since 2006, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] agents routinely entered private homes in the middle of the night without warrants and seized residents without a legal basis in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The report also found that Latinos were disproportionately likely to be arrested during home raids, suggesting a pattern of racial profiling. Clinic director and co-author of the report Peter Markowitz said:

This report reveals an alarming pattern of federal immigration officials breaking into people's homes and bedrooms in the pre-dawn hours in flagrant violation of the Constitution. The government's heavy handed tactics are a monumental waste of public resources resulting primarily in the arrest of hard working immigrants who pose no danger at all to society.

The report concludes with several policy recommendations, including limiting home raid operations, obtaining warrants before conducting home raids, and improving training and supervision of home raid teams.

In February, the clinic reported that ICE documents [text, PDF] obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [5 USC § 552 text; JURIST news archive] show that Bush administration immigration enforcement tactics were both overly-aggressive and ineffective [JURIST report]. The documents show that in 2006 ICE policy increased arrest quotas from 125 to 1000 per year and eliminated a previous requirement that 75 percent of arrests must be "criminal aliens." The documents also indicate a significant increase in the ratio of non-criminal to criminal immigrants arrested by ICE since the changes were instituted. Immigration reform has been a top priority for the Obama administration. Earlier this month, the US Department of Homeland Security [official website] announced changes to immigration policies [press release; JURIST report] for state and local agencies. The new policies create uniform standards for local agencies that will require them to pursue all criminal charges leading to an immigrant's arrest prior to initiating removal proceedings. Also this month, ICE issued inspection notices [JURIST report] to 652 businesses as part of an increased effort to target employers using illegal immigrants. Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] vacated [order, PDF; JURIST report] an order [text, PDF] by former attorney general Michael Mukasey [JURIST news archive] that denied potential deportees the right to challenge immigration decisions based on ineffective assistance of counsel claims.

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