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Federal judge says ICE must stop ‘knock and talk’ arrests

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  • ICE ordered to stop ‘knock and talk’ arrests.
  • A federal judge says they’re unconstitutional.
  • ACLU celebrates legal victory.

In California, a federal judge ruled that the practice of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents entering homes without warrants to make immigration arrests is unconstitutional, according to the ACLU.

Judge Ottis D. Wright’s decision is the result of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU in 2020 on behalf of immigrant Osny Sorto Vásquez Kidd.

The Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ) and the Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants (CHIRLA) were also involved in the lawsuit.

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ICE’s ‘knock and talk’ arrests ruled unconstitutional

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The lawsuit alleged that ICE agents posed as police officers to enter immigrants’ homes without a search warrant, in what is known as ‘knock and talk.’

The ruling covers four cases that occurred between February 2017 and April 2020, according to the EFE agency.

ICE illegally entered constitutionally protected areas around the homes with an administrative immigration order rather than a court order.

In these cases, ICE agents entered a covered porch, a private patio or a backyard to reach the entrance of the house, and knocked on the door in search of the immigrant to proceed with the arrest.

What did the ACLU say?

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“Everyone should feel safe in their own home, regardless of immigration status,” Stephanie Padilla, an attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, said in a statement.

«Because ICE never has judicial warrants, they primarily rely on ‘knock and talks’ to conduct home arrests,» she added.

The lawyer said that the judge’s order will “significantly curtail ICE’s unconstitutional home arrest practices.»

The lawsuit cited the case of Vásquez Kidd, where ICE agents posing as police officers who were searching for a dangerous criminal entered his home.

Are ICE tactics illegal?

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Once inside the house, they discovered he was not there and made his mother call him and convinced him to join them.

Vásquez Kidd was covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) at the time of his arrest, according to infobae.

The complaint alleges that ICE’s tactics violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects citizens from unauthorized search and seizure.

In his order, the judge clarifies that while the practice of knock and talk arrests, as defined by the United States Supreme Court, is considered constitutional, the practice as defined and enforced by ICE is not.

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