[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] ruled [decision; PDF] Friday that post-arrest detention is legal in cases where the detainees are reasonably detained. The case, Turkmen v. Ashcroft [CCR backgrounder], challenged the alleged racial profiling, arbitrary detention and abuse of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men swept up after 9/11. This most recent ruling affirms that immigration law can be used as a pretext for detention, and that there is "no authority clearly establishing an equal protection right to be free of selective enforcement of the immigration laws based on national origin, race, or religion at the time of plaintiffs detentions." The Second Circuit did not dismiss claims of abuse against upper level officials, and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) [advocacy website] said in a press release that
we are still seeking justice. This ruling allows us the possibility of moving forward against high-level officials, and we will. This is an important case: immigration law cannot be used as a short-cut around the Fourth Amendment.Even though the government admitted to no wrongdoing, it settled with five of the plaintiffs [JURIST report] for $1.26 million last month. In 2007, a district court judge granted the government's motion to dismiss [text, PDF] a number of the claims, but refused to dismiss the abuse claims. Also in 2007, the government criminally charged [JURIST report] several guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn official website], the location in which men were detained, with abusing prisoners.