‘Will not stand by and let local jurisdictions face unwarranted judicial activism…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) As the Trump administration continues its court battle over sanctuary cities, illegal-immigration advocates are testing another strategy: suing those who cooperate with immigration enforcement.
The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County currently is embroiled in legal wranglings with Abdullah Abriq, a Saudi national who studied at Tennessee State University before overstaying his student visa.
Abriq was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which temporarily housed him in the county jail before resuming custody.
A group of activist immigration lawyers in Nashville subsequently filed a class-action suit on behalf of Abriq and others like him, alleging that local detention violated the immigrants’ Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure.
The suit claims Nashville officials, with nothing more than an Order to Detain from ICE, lacked the probable cause or criminal charges needed to hold Abriq.
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee has sided with Abriq, saying a formal agreement between ICE and the county would be needed in order to deputize local officers as immigration agents.
IRLI said in a press release that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is higher hierarchically but not directly above the Nashville district court, has ruled that no such prior agreement is necessary.
“IRLI will not stand by and let local jurisdictions face unwarranted judicial activism because they choose to comply with federal law by cooperating with ICE,” Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI executive director and general counsel, said in the press release.
While courts have ruled that even illegal immigrants may be afforded certain constitutional rights, such as free speech and due process, the question of probable cause further complicates the issue since crossing the border illegally is itself a federal crime.
“The idea that probable cause of criminal activity is necessary when detaining an alien is a complete legal fallacy that open borders groups have passed off as the rule of law,” Wilcox said. “It is IRLI’s job to remind the court of what the law is, not what activist lawyers wish it was.”