Florida county sued for detaining US citizen on immigration request

Florida county sued for detaining US citizen on immigration request
A lawsuit filed against the Miami-Dade County in Florida and its mayor charges them with violating the 4th Amendment rights of a US citizen, according to a coalition of activists and groups that includes the American Civil Liberties Union.

Garland Creedle, 18, was arrested in Miami-Dade County in March over allegations of a domestic violence dispute. Though he was cleared for release, he was held for 48 hours at the request of federal immigration officials – an act that he says violated his constitutional rights.

In the suit, filed against the county and Mayor Carlos Gimenez in the federal district court in Miami, Florida, the ACLU claims Creedle was detained “solely for a suspected civil immigration violation.”

Creedle was born in Honduras but has an American father, grew up in the US, and as a US citizen cannot be deported.

“A mistake was made, there is no question a mistake was made,” Pamela Seay, an attorney and constitutional law professor at Florida Golf Coast University, told WGCU.

Seay said Creedle was arrested for a domestic dispute and detained by Miami-Dade County because of that arrest. At the time his fingerprints were sent through the immigration system, and he was subsequently detained.

“From what I have read, it looks he was detained for 24 hours. It was a mistake that he was detained but this particular case is the not the right case to attack the policies in place. There are better cases if you wanted to do that,” she said.

The county has been allowing such immigration-related detention orders since President Donald Trump issued an executive order concerning illegal immigration in January, threatening to cut off funding for “sanctuary cities” that don’t comply with such requests.

Mayor Gimenez caused outrage when he overturned years of county policy and ordered jails to approve all immigration detainer requests, instead of only those for people facing serious charges.

The ACLU alleges the system by which local law enforcement agencies detain immigrants arrested for unrelated causes is illegal. The group also claims that Florida law “prohibits jail officials from detaining people for civil immigration purposes.”

“Our case illustrates how sloppy the system is. It should be obvious that if a US citizen falls in the net, something must be wrong,” ACLU of Florida attorney Amien Kacou told WGCU. “Beyond the question of how sloppy the system is, there is a fundamental problem to do with the lack of legal authority.”

Kacou said Immigration and Customs Law Enforcement (ICE) agents lack a proper statutory mandate to issue detainers under the US Constitution, and under Florida law.

The detainers are “simply requests” and ICE “lacks the authority under the Constitution because there is a separation between matters of national interest and matter of local or state interest, and that cannot be breached without some degree of Congressional intent in general,” Kacou argued.

From January to mid-June, Miami-Dade has turned over 124 detainees to ICE custody, according to the Guardian.