Immigrants in Florida and throughout the country have spoken out in recent years against immigration detention issues that have repeatedly arisen in county jails in various states. Many people say they served timed in jail for convictions and were scheduled to be released, but jail officials refused to free them because Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers asked the officials to keep them behind bars to await transfer to ICE custody. On the West Coast, a class action lawsuit was filed that claimed the rights of many immigrants were violated in this manner.
Recently, the county in the state in question agreed to pay $14 million to settle the case. More than 18,000 have reportedly qualified for a share of the settlement. The lawsuit claimed that the sheriff’s department had refused to let people post bail and routinely held people past their scheduled release dates in compliance with requests from ICE to do so.
A federal court judge ruled that the routine practice of the sheriff’s department in Los Angeles County was violating people’s rights. The violations reportedly took place from 2010 to 2014. Many people hope this case sends a loud message to other law enforcement agencies throughout the country who have been implementing similar practices against immigrants who have served their time and are scheduled for release from jail.
It is important for Florida immigrants facing similar legal problems to know how to reach out for additional support as needed. A good place to start is to request a meeting with an experienced U.S. immigration law attorney. Such an attorney is well-versed in civil rights issues and can recommend a best course of action in a particular set of circumstances.