In 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stormed a factory outside of Los Angeles, where they interrogated and arrested 130 workers. The raid was the result of a 2006 tip, in which the agents learned of possibly hundreds of immigrants working illegally at Micro Solutions Enterprises, a printer cartridge manufacturer.
Now 11 years later, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision to deport one of these employees, Gregorio Perez Cruz. The federal court decided that upon raiding the factory, ICE agents violated the law by arresting the workers without reasonable suspicion of their legal status. The decision may influence similar cases extending across California, Florida and the rest of the country.
The details of the raid
Leading up to the 2008 raid, immigration agents obtained a search warrant for employment records at the California factory. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, the agents planned to do much more than examine employment records. Rather, they planned to make up to 200 arrests and had two buses and five vans waiting outside to take workers to a detention facility.
When the 100 armed agents proceeded into the factory, they blocked all exits and directed employees to refrain from using cell phones. They frisked, handcuffed and questioned workers, including Cruz.
The federal court ruled that ICE agents cannot arrest and interrogate workers or others without “individualized suspicion.” The agents obtained a warrant to search employee records yet instead entered the floor of the factory to detain workers. The Hill reports that because of this, Cruz’s arrest was ultimately outside the limits of the search warrant.
What the outcome of the case means for workers
According to both the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California and Cruz’s legal representation, this ruling may extend beyond this case. ICE agents employ tactics like the ones used in the 2008 raid across the country, including in Florida. However, agents still cannot carry out raids which violate an individual’s rights.
If you or a loved one become detained after a raid at your place of employment or elsewhere, you may have options. Work with an immigration attorney to examine the circumstances of your detainment and protect your rights.