Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Officers Sued for Constitutional Violations in Pre-Dawn Home Raids Practice

NEWARK , N.J., April 3, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Seton Hall Law School's Center for Social Justice and Lowenstein Sandler PC, filed suit today in federal court, alleging that federal law enforcement officials violated the ten victims' constitutional...


According to the complaint, the constitutional violations did not cease once agents had entered the homes. For example, plaintiff Maria Argueta , a legal resident, was arrested in her home at 4:30 in the morning and detained for 24 hours without food or water; the agents lied to get into her home then refused to even to look at her immigration papers proving her status. Agents shoved a gun into the chest of another plaintiff and screamed obscenities at her. Numerous ICE agents and local Penns Grove police officers stormed yet another plaintiff's house at three in the morning with guns drawn, without a search warrant, claiming they were looking for her brother, whom the government had actually deported at least two years earlier.

"Repeatedly in this country's history, and especially during our most challenging times, immigrant populations have been the targets of suspicion, hostility and overly aggressive law enforcement tactics," said plaintiff's lawyer and Seton Hall Law Professor Baher Azmy . "If we don't want to regret this moment, as we've come to regret previous ones, we should stop to consider the costs of these lawless and abusive practices -- to our commitment to fair and humane procedures and to the human beings in our midst who suffer real harm."

Previously, the Center for Social Justice and the newspaper Brazilian Voice filed a Freedom of Information Act suit in federal court, challenging the government's withholding of documents about the raids. That lawsuit, filed January 28, 2008 , can be found at http://law.shu.edu/csj/iceraids.html.

A copy of the complaint and fact summaries can be found at http://law.shu.edu/csj/iceraids.html .

Seton Hall University School of Law, New Jersey's only private law school and a leading law school in the New York metropolitan area, is dedicated to preparing students for the practice of law through excellence in scholarship and teaching with a strong focus on clinical education. The Center for Social Justice, a core of Seton Hall Law School's Catholic mission, provides clinical education and volunteer opportunities to students and engages in various forms of advocacy, scholarship and direct legal services in an effort to secure equality, civil rights and legal protection for individuals and communities in need. Seton Hall Law School is located in Newark . For more information visit http://law.shu.edu/ .

Lowenstein Sandler PC is a nationally recognized corporate law firm with offices in New York, New Jersey and Boston , with more than 275 attorneys providing a full range of legal services. The firm's commitment to its clients is demonstrated through its client-centered, service-oriented culture. Lowenstein Sandler attorneys are regularly recognized for excellence by clients and peers in national publications, including Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business and The Legal 500. http://www.lowenstein.com

SOURCE Lowenstein Sandler PC