12/21/2010 8:40:00 AM,
Jeff D. Gorman
(CN) - Illegal immigrants can sue the government for constitutional rights violations stemming from a predawn raid, a Connecticut federal judge ruled.
Four teams of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents invaded homes in New Haven, Conn., without probable cause or arrest warrants. They detained 11 people for between 3 and 27 days before they were released.
The 11 plaintiffs sued the federal government, immigration agents who conducted the raid, and the agents' supervisors for violating their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, as well as negligent supervision and hiring.
U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill upheld the Fifth Amendment equal protection claims and the Fourth Amendment charges against four of the supervisors.
"The plaintiffs have alleged that the defendant officers targeted a primarily Latino neighborhood, arrested people who appeared Latino, detained one plaintiff solely because he spoke Spanish and appeared Latino, and taunted one plaintiff's girlfriend by saying the plaintiffs were being taken to see Mexican singer Juan Gabriel," Underhill wrote. "That is enough to plausibly allege that the defendants were motivated by a discriminatory purpose."
The plaintiffs can also obtain additional discovery to support their claims for negligent training and supervision, the judge ruled.
Underhill did grant some of the government's points, ruling that the plaintiff's did not make a sound allegation of negligent hiring. The judge also dismissed the plaintiff's claims for declaratory relief under the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.