Over a six-day period in May 2018, in “Operation Keep Safe” ICE arrested and detained more than 100 people across the Chicago area. ICE’s tactics included stopping people who officers thought may be Latino, warrantless arrests, and posing as local police stopping cars for minor traffic issues such as “low tire pressure.” These practices violated both the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and ripped law-abiding people from their neighborhoods and families to force them into detention facilities.
Castañon Nava v. Department of Homeland Security
Within weeks of this operation, two of the Chicago residents who had been swept up by ICE’s unlawful practices sued in federal court. Through their counsel at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), the plaintiffs sought to represent a class of individuals who had been or would be similarly unlawfully stopped and detained by ICE absent a court injunction prohibiting the agency from continuing with these tactics.
The following month, these men were joined by additional individual plaintiffs who were also unlawfully stopped and detained, and two organizational plaintiffs – Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) – whose resources had been diverted to address the confusion and disruptions caused by ICE’s unlawful invasions into the communities they serve.
The federal government asked the court to dismiss the case, and the ACLU of Illinois joined as co-counsel to oppose that request and further support the plaintiffs’ demands for injunctive relief.
The ACLU of Illinois opposes racial profiling. Driving while brown or “appearing to look undocumented” is not a legal justification to pull over a vehicle and question a motorist. It is unconstitutional and creates a heightened level of fear among those already living in fear due to the recent rise in xenophobic sentiment and policies aimed at them. The ACLU also condones the Trump Administration unleashing such lawlessness in the Chicagoland area as an attempt to terrorize those living in sanctuary cities.
ICE has conducted these operations across the country in and near various cities with sanctuary protections similar to Chicago’s. Such measures are meant to ensure that immigrants can trust local police by preventing ICE from co-opting local law enforcement agents to act on ICE’s behalf. The actions of ICE seek to undermine locally-supported sanctuary policies, and to create fear in communities that have committed to standing by all their inhabitants, regardless of their immigration status.
Rebecca Glenberg, Karen Sheley, Aarón Siebert-Llera, Juan Caballero, Elizabeth Jordan (ACLU of Illinois); Mark Fleming, Katherine Melloy Goettel (National Immigrant Justice Center); Ivan Poullaos, Zachary Sorman, Dan Hoang (Winston & Strawn)
May 29, 2018
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Rebecca R. Pallmeyer