"The conduct of arresting officers is rarely scrutinized in the overwhelmed immigration courts, which focus squarely on whether arrested individuals should be removed from the United States. While deportation proceedings are civil, they afford immigrants fewer rights than criminal defendants to challenge their apprehensions.
Noncitizens have a considerable range of protections under the Constitution; if arrested for a crime like robbery or assault, they, like citizens, are protected against unlawful searches and seizures, and against self-incrimination.
Yet immigrants facing removal, unlike criminal suspects, do not have the right to a government-provided lawyer. And without a lawyer — two-thirds of immigration detainees didn’t have one last year — they are highly unlikely to contest the validity of their arrests. They are also 10 times less likely to win their cases. And if they get deported, any allegations of law enforcement abuses disappear along with them."
Luis, 28, lost his job, his apartment, and all his possessions while in immigration jail. Now, he awaits the resolution of his deportation case as he stays in Reading with a relative of someone he met in detention. (Jose F. Moreno/Philadelphia Inquirer)