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Appeals court ruling gives boost to ICE detainees

If you have a loved one who has been detained by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and who may face deportation over an arrest, a sliver of good news may be on the horizon for them, thanks to a judge in California.

The ruling by the appellate judge at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will effectively force the government to either abide by a ruling requiring compliance with the Fourth Amendment provisions or appeal it to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Here's why.

ICE must play by same legal rules as other courts

Under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, detained individuals have a right to prompt probable cause determinations — within 48 hours — done by neutral and detached magistrates. If you were busted for drugs or picked up for shoplifting, you would have to go before a judge before those 48 hours elapsed in any court in this nation. The judge's ruling made clear that ICE has no right to expect to play by a completely different set of rules.

ICE holds can last weeks or months

A person's tidily ordered life can fall apart in the time that it takes for ICE to ever bring them in front of a judge to answer for their alleged offense. Detained individuals can lose jobs, housing, families and sponsors while they cool their heels in detention centers awaiting a determination whether there is indeed probable cause to continue to hold them and proceed with the case against them.

When chickens come home to roost

America — the land of the free. That's how we have traditionally been known, so it is only fair that ICE is held to the same basic constitutional standards as every other law enforcement agency in the land. Yet, the immigration agency has typically gotten away with flouting Fourth Amendment rights of detainees for many years.

With many of those agency's arrests being determined unconstitutional under the law of the land, that is a real game-changer for many who are seeking the American dream. It's likely a Supreme Court challenge is looming. But even here, the answer appears clear and basic: Either a detainee's Fourth Amendment rights were violated or they were not.

Learning more about the immigration laws and how they affect your case is a good thing in these uncertain times.

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