Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ninth Circuit Decision: Coast Guard's Racial Profiling of Latino an Egregious Fourth Amendment Violation

Coast guard

In Sanchez v. Sessions, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Harry Pregerson (and joined by Judges Richard Paez and Morgan B. Christen).  As described in the summary of the opinion, the panel held that Coast Guard officers who detained Sanchez committed an egregious Fourth Amendment violation because they seized Sanchez based on his Latino ethnicity alone. Accordingly, the panel held that the immigration judge erred in failing to suppress the Form I 213 (Record of Deportable/Inadmissible Alien), which was prepared after his immigration arrest and which the Government introduced to establish Sanchez’s alienage and entry without inspection. The panel also concluded that Sanchez was not seized at the United States border, where Fourth Amendment protections are lower.  The panel further held that, because Coast Guard officers detained Sanchez solely on the basis of his Latino ethnicity,the officers violated an immigration regulation, 8 C.F.R. § 287.8(b(2), which provides that an immigration officer may briefly detain an individual only if the officer has “reasonable suspicion, based on specific articulable facts” that the person is engaged in an offense or is an alien illegally in the United States. Accordingly, the panel held that Sanchez’s removal proceedings must be terminated based on the regulatory violation because the regulation is designed to benefit Sanchez, and Sanchez was prejudiced by the violation.

Hat tip to Professor Carter White.


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