Thursday, April 4, 2013

Law Professors' Brief Filed in Third Circuit Immigration Detainer Case


Professor Christopher Lasch submitted this post.

The Third Circuit yesterday granted the motion of over 60 criminal law and immigration law professors to file an amicus brief in Galarza v. County of Lehigh (No. 12-3991). The brief can be accessed below.

Ernesto Galarza filed suit against Lehigh County alleging he was wrongly imprisoned because of an immigration detainer. Mr. Galarza is a United States citizen, but Lehigh County Prison officials held Mr. Galarza pursuant to the immigration detainer. According to Mr. Galarza, they did so even though at the time of his booking, Mr. Galarza said he was born in New Jersey, and had his Pennsylvania driver's license and Social Security card on his person.

The district court dismissed, holding that Lehigh County's policy of complying with all immigration detainers was "consistent with" federal regulation 8 C.F.R. § 287.7(d), which states that "once the immigration detainer is issued, the local, state, or federal agency then holding the individual 'shall' maintain custody."

The law professors argue that federal immigration detainers cannot be mandatory on the state and local officials receiving them. Considering immigration detainers as requiring compliance by state and local officials, say the amici, runs afoul of the anti-commandeering principles of the Constitution, clashes with the statutory structure Congress has put in place for immigration detention, and raises significant Fourth Amendment issues.

Here is the brief.  Download GALARZA - Amicus Brief -AS SUBMITTED 2013-03-26

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