Last month, a U.S. citizen named Rony Chávez Aguilar filed a lawsuit against ICE after being held in custody for three weeks while ICE prepared to deport him, reported Fusion.
Chávez Aguilar was born in Guatemala and came to the United States in 1991. His mother became a naturalized citizen in 1999 when he was 14 years old. Aguilar became a citizen in 2001.
Why did ICE detain Aguilar? According to The Daily Beast, ICE believed Aguilar was undocumented. Aguilar was arrested in Kentucky and pleaded guilty to drug charges. He served two weeks in county jail and should have been let go, but instead he was held for an extra two days at the request of the ICE office in Chicago, which covers Kentucky as part of their jurisdiction.
U.S. law prohibits ICE from detaining U.S. citizens, which is why Aguilar is now suing the agency for violating his rights.
“ICE Chicago did not obtain a judicial warrant to arrest Plaintiff; has not provided a sworn, particularized statement of probable cause; has not promptly brought him before a detached and neutral judicial officer for a probable cause hearing; or has not brought him before a judge to understand the charges against him and receive important advisals regarding his due process rights, amongst other procedural protections,” reads the complaint.
Aguilar tried to explain to ICE that they had no business detaining him, but they weren’t having it. “He said, ‘Hey, I’m a citizen,’” Charles Roth, Aguilar’s attorney, told the Daily Beast. According to the lawsuit, Aguilar was not “promptly” or at all brought before a judge to explain his situation.
According to Roth, Aguilar was released soon after the suit was filed on March 27. He and Aguilar are hoping to get class-action approval so that others who languish in detention for weeks can join the suit.