A lawsuit filed against Miami-Dade County claims local law enforcement's alleged practice of arresting and detaining individuals in response to detainers issued by U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) is unconstitutional.
Miami-Dade County, Florida and the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department (MDCR) are facing a proposed class action filed in Florida federal court. The case takes issue with the defendants’ alleged practice of arresting and detaining individuals in response to detainers issued by U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). According to the lawsuit, the defendants detain individuals with suspected immigration issues for 48 hours or more “even though all criminal charges against these persons have been dismissed, or they have been acquitted, ordered released, or have served their sentences.”
The case explains that ICE detainers are merely requests issued by the Department of Homeland Security to local law enforcement agencies. When an individual is arrested by local law enforcement, the suit continues, his or her fingerprints are run through ICE’s database and, if the agency has issued a detainer, the individual is held in custody “after that individual is otherwise entitled to release.” The case argues that this practice violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, which require a judicial warrant or probable cause that the individual has committed a crime before he or she can be arrested and detained.
“To comply with the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments,” the complaint reads, “a seizure must be pursuant to a warrant based on probable cause, issued by a neutral magistrate or, otherwise, must fall under an exception to the warrant requirement. ICE detainer requests are not warrants supported by probable cause, are not issued by neutral magistrates, and do not fall under any exception.”
The lawsuit points out that the defendants are not required to adhere to ICE detainers, despite a memorandum issued on January 26, 2017 by the Mayor of Miami-Dade County instructing the defendants to “comply with all ICE detainer requests.”
Further, the case points out that the defendants’ practice has harmed not only immigrant families but the county itself, arguing that detaining people “past the time they otherwise would have been released” has cost the county millions of dollars and has “endangered public safety by eroding the trust between the community and law enforcement.”