Has Protecting Illegals Gone Too Far?
Suppose a group of Americans went to China, Mexico or Saudi Arabia and overstayed their welcome by a few months or years. The immigration agents for that country discover their whereabouts, raid the homes where the Americans are living, arrest them and begin proceedings for deportation.
But then the Americans file suit, and the government not only stops the deportation, but eventually agrees to pay the illegal Americans $350,000 in a settlement that allows them to stay indefinitely.
Sounds crazy, right?
If the scenario described above occurred in any of those countries mentioned, the illegal American aliens would have been jailed, punished, and deported.
Well of course this didn’t happen in any of those countries. This situation occurred in Connecticut, right here in the good ol’ USA. And obviously the parable does not involve American citizens, but illegal aliens.
As bizarre as it sounds, illegal immigrants successfully sued the U.S. federal government because their rights were violated and they were paid a $350,000 settlement.
The complete story reported here in detail by the Yale Daily News will raise questions about what is and what is not protected under the United States Constitution. It will also undoubtedly anger many Americans.
How could this happen?
The short version of what transpired is as follows. In Fair Haven, CT, a neighborhood that is part of New Haven, illegal aliens (an estimated 10,000+ of them) are welcomed and embraced by Mayor John DeStefano Jr. The ten-term mayor has always been an ardent supporter of illegals and would like them to be able to vote.
Back in 2007 in Fair Haven, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents forcefully entered homes without search warrants, sometimes with guns drawn and detained 31 alleged illegal aliens.
In 2009, ten of the aliens sued saying “their Constitutional rights were violated.” A settlement was announced on February 15, 2012, and the federal government will pay 11 of the illegal aliens $350,000 and clears their deportation hearings.
What is strange about this is that not only are the illegal aliens being allowed to stay, but they are being paid damages. Officials commenting in the Yale Daily News:
Former Ward 29 Alderman Carl Goldfield, who was president of the Board of Aldermen during the 2007 raids, said he found the outcome of the settlement odd given that, to his understanding, the plaintiffs were in fact illegal immigrants.
“The tactics ICE used to grab these people were out of bounds,” Goldfield said, “but it strikes me as odd that people who were in the country illegally are getting paid by the federal government and proceedings to deport them are dropped.”
Goldfield added that he had expected some form of penalty would be imposed on ICE for immigration agents’ conduct during the raids, but that deportation proceedings would continue largely unhindered.
Others, including Alderman Ernie Santiago, who represents Fair Haven’s Ward 15, said the settlement is appropriate as an affirmation of immigrants’ rights.
“Everybody has rights in this country,” Santiago said. “It doesn’t matter if you are legal or illegal — you have rights.”
Santiago may be wrong here. While aliens have human rights and should be treated decently, illegals are here illegally. They are not citizens and should not be protected by the Constitution according to legal scholars. According to the ABA Journal:
In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the exclusionary rule, which bars evidence obtained from illegal searches and seizures, generally does not apply in civil de¬portation proceedings. Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032. Even if an immigrant facing deportation could prove that officers entered a home illegally, lawyers say, that wouldn’t stop an immigration judge from granting a removal order.
The United States Supreme Court will eventually have a case on their hands which gives a clearer definition of how far universal rights cross over into Constitutional rights. Until then, the government better have a warrant to protect illegals while rounding them up.