Grant of Temporary Restraining Order Against ICE Detainer

July 31st, 2017

In Sanchez-Ochoa v. Campbell, a federal district court in eastern Washington granted a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of federal immigration holds, or Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) detainers, finding that such detainers violate the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment that provides a right to be free from unreasonable seizures. Judge Salvador Mendoza emphasized that the Fourth Amendment requires an arrest warrant (finding a hold a type of arrest) be approved by a judge and not an employee of the executive branch. ICE officers complete a document for an administrative warrant stating the violation of immigration laws and give it to a local law enforcement official who in turn places the inmate on federal hold.

Yakima County jail has a policy of enforcing such detainers and entering a hold any time it receives a detainer. In this case, it prevented the inmate from seeking to post a bond, which was allowed under a state court ruling.

In Commonwealth v. Seynuon Lunn, the Massaschusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) invalidated ICE detainers based on a violation of state law and it did not implicate the federal Constitution. It found that there is no Massachusetts statute or case law authorizing the local officials to make a civil arrest in this case. The SJC stated that even if federal officials wanted to make detainers mandatory, the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution would bar it. The SJC’s decision is not appealable.