US immigration law — do ICE arrests violate the Constitution?

Immigrants in Louisiana may feel worried when interacting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and understandably so. Every year, ICE arrests many immigrants — both documented and undocumented. The way things are handled after these arrests might not be totally constitutional, though. A federal appellate court recently decided that ICE and U.S. immigration law should follow the same constitutional rules to which regular police must abide.

When someone is arrested, police must be able to provide a judge with probable cause for doing so within 48 hours of the arrest. However, ICE does not follow this same protocol. In fact, weeks often go by before ICE is required to provide probable cause. This is often during the same hearing when people are expected to enter their pleas.

When the process takes this long, immigrants may spend weeks in detention centers. These men and women end up at least temporarily losing their freedom without a judge ever deciding that there is a legal basis to do so. They are also frequently detained in private detention centers located in remote areas that might be nowhere near where they live.

A lot can happen over the course of a few weeks. Even those who are released because there was no probable cause for arrest may have already lost their jobs, financial stability and personal reputation. Asserting one’s rights is essential in a situation such as this. In Louisiana, speaking with an attorney who is experienced in U.S. immigration law about how to do so is usually well advised.