Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department violated immigrants' rights, court rules

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A federal judge ruled that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials violated the rights of detained immigrants. (KABC)

A federal judge ruled that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials violated the rights of detained immigrants.

Judge Andre Birotte Jr., who made the ruling Thursday in U.S. District Court, said that immigrants were held too long, denied bail or were locked up despite a lack of evidence.

The ruling is the result of two lawsuits brought by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the law firm of Kaye, McLane, Bednarski & Litt, the National Immigrant Justice Center and the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project.

According to immigrant advocates, the ruling affects thousands of people who were held under immigration detainers issued by the federal government.

California has since passed laws preventing law enforcement from honoring detainers, but the American Civil Liberties Union says those wrongly held might be eligible for monetary damages.

Birotte says a trial is needed to sort out challenges to other detention practices.

The sheriff's department released the following statement to Eyewitness News:

In light of the fact that the Department is currently engaged in ongoing litigation regarding this lawsuit we can't get into specifics, however we can indicate that this lawsuit, which was filed in 2012, involved past practices. Currently, the Sheriff's Department does not detain any inmate beyond their normal release date regardless of whether or not there is a valid ICE detainer. This has been the standard practice since 2014.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network released a statement Friday, reading in part:

"The court's decision vindicates years of work by the Los Angeles immigrant community to challenge the Sheriff Department's abuses and throws a major wrench in the Trump administration's deportation machine," said Jessica Bansal, litigation director of NDLON

You can read the full decision here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
los angeles county sheriff's departmentimmigrationimmigration reformcourtjudge
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