A Federal District Court settlement sets forth new rules for immigration raids in the U.S., changing the way that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents conduct searches. Social Explorer’s Andrew Beveridge did a report and testified as an expert for the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit.
Using data from immigration and custom enforcement, he analyzed whether those that ICE intended to arrest, as well as those ultimately arrested, were disproportionately Hispanic. To do this, he assessed whether those arrested (but not among those ICE intended to arrest) were also disproportionately Hispanic, and whether the areas where ICE went on raids were more likely Hispanic. About 93 percent of all those ICE intended to arrest were Hispanic, while over 96 percent of those actually arrested were Hispanic. In addition, he assessed whether ICE had recorded permission to enter the homes of detainees. They asked for permission in very few cases of the nearly 200 raids analysed.
He concluded that ICE disproportionately targeted Hispanics for arrest and then arrested even more Hispanics in the actual raids, even though it did not arrest that many of the people it claimed it was planning to arrest. In short, its procedures, its choice of potential arrestees, and its actual arrests were disproportionately Hispanic. Also, ICE appeared to have seldom recorded that it had obtained permission to enter the homes of arrestees.
The New York Times' Kirk Semple lays out the details and impacts of the settlement (excerpts below):
Federal authorities have agreed to establish new policies governing the conduct of immigration officers during raids, including restrictions on how and when agents can enter private homes, the source of widespread ire and anxiety among immigrants.
The suit contended that in eight raids in 2006 and 2007, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, without court warrants or other legal justification, forced their way into the homes of Latino families on Long Island and in Westchester County.
The plaintiffs in the suit contended that during the raids, armed agents surrounded their homes in the predawn hours, pounded on windows and shouted orders to open up. When occupants opened the doors, the plaintiffs contended, the agents barged inside — in at least one instance with guns drawn — then swept through the homes, corralling occupants for interrogations.
According to the settlement, immigration agents needing consent to enter a private residence will now have to seek permission in a language spoken by the resident “whenever feasible.” Agents must also get consent from residents to enter the yards and other private outside areas adjoining their homes, the settlement said.
Under the settlement, agents are forbidden from conducting protective sweeps through the homes without “a reasonable, articulable suspicion of danger.”