ColoradoACLUfileslegalclaimagainstICE This is a case of racial profiling and ethnic stereotyping at its very worst.
In a formal administrative complaint filed with United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) on Monday, American Civil Liberties Union (UCLA) lawyers blasted the agency for an unwarranted immigration roundup of dozens of Denver-area residents last April that included the illegal arrest and illegal search of United States citizens and legal immigrants who had done absolutely nothing wrong.
“This is a case of racial profiling and ethnic stereotyping at its very worst,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “An ICE agent targeted our clients for speaking Spanish in an Omaha fast-food restaurant. Speaking Spanish is not a crime, nor does it provide any basis for immigration officers to start demanding papers or otherwise launch any investigation.”
The ACLU’s complaint was filed on behalf of Arquimides Bautista and Rosalba Artimas, both United States citizens who live in the Denver area and are active vendors of Amway products. On the evening of April 1, along with several dozen other Spanish-speaking distributors, they boarded a chartered bus to travel to an Amway convention in Omaha, Nebraska.. Arriving early the next morning, the bus stopped at a fast food restaurant so the passengers could eat breakfast. An ICE officer happened to be getting breakfast at the same time.
According to an ICE report, the Spanish-speaking ICE officer overheard the bus passengers speaking in Spanish and concluded that they had been traveling “for a while.” The ICE officer suspected that the chartered bus was carrying what she called “a smuggling load.” She called her superiors, who quickly sent reinforcements.
After the passengers returned to the bus, ICE officers swooped in. As ICE vehicles blocked the bus on either side, ICE officers, ordered the uniformed driver out of the bus and questioned him. The driver explained that Amway had hired his company, Global Transportation, Inc., to take the passengers from Denver to the Omaha Hilton for a convention. He also explained that he makes a similar trip to Amway gatherings every three months..
Ignoring the bus driver’s explanation, three ICE officers boarded the bus and barked commands to the passengers. They announced they were from “immigration” and began aggressively demanding identification and questioning passengers about their immigration status They ordered the bus driver as well as the passengers to turn off their cell phones or else they would be confiscated. After checking a handful of the passengers’ IDs, including the IDs of the
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