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ACLU Handcuffs ICE in California

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has agreed to stop using third-party contractors to arrest migrants after being sued over the practice by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

ICE is prohibited from using third-party contractors, such as G4S Secure Solutions, to arrest migrants, according to a settlement agreement as part of a lawsuit the ACLU and other activist organizations filed on behalf of an illegal migrant who was arrested by immigration authorities.

ICE may still use the contractors’ services in other aspects except arresting migrants.

According to the settlement agreement:

The San Francisco Field Office and Los Angeles Field Office will not permit Private Contractors, including, but not limited to G4S employees, to perform Civil Immigration Arrests at CDCR Facilities and County Jails in their respective Areas of Responsibility. While Private Contractors may be present at the time of an arrest, only Immigration Officers will be permitted to perform the arrests. After an arrest is made, an Immigration Officer may allow a Private Contractor to transport the individual.

 

The ACLU’s former director of the Immigrants’ Rights Program, Vasudha Talla, praised the settlement as a “key legal victory.”

Last week’s settlement agreement with ICE is part of the ACLU’s long-term goal to ensure fewer arrests of illegal immigrants. In September 2021, the activist organization called on President Joe Biden to shut down all ICE detention centers across the country.

After that demand, the ACLU praised the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recent decision not to extend its ICE contract with a detention center in Glades County, Florida.

Other immigration detention centers are nearly empty, like California’s privately-run detention center in Adelanto. ICE similarly entered into a settlement agreement that limits a Farmville, Virginia, detention center to a quarter of its maximum capacity.

In an April 2021 lawsuit, attorneys for the migrant argued that ICE used G4S Secure Solutions to transfer countless immigrants in California to ICE officials, going back as far as 2016.

However, G4S spokesperson Sherita Coffelt said, “At no time was G4S involved in any arrests of undocumented immigrants or any other ICE detainees.”

ICE did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

However, the settlement agreement requires ICE agents to undergo extensive training on the prohibition of third-party contractors, including new employee training, semi-annual training, and quarterly email broadcasts.

Further, the settlement orders ICE to pay nearly $200,000 in legal fees and costs to Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

The ACLU’s former director of the Immigrants’ Rights Program, Vasudha Talla, praised the settlement as a “key legal victory.”

Last week’s settlement agreement with ICE is part of the ACLU’s long-term goal to ensure fewer arrests of illegal immigrants. In September 2021, the activist organization called on President Joe Biden to shut down all ICE detention centers across the country.

After that demand, the ACLU praised the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recent decision not to extend its ICE contract with a detention center in Glades County, Florida.

Other immigration detention centers are nearly empty, like California’s privately-run detention center in Adelanto.

The case is Solano v. ICE, No. 2:21-cv-01576-AB in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

 

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