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Immigrant’s Attempt to Halt Removal Proceedings through Fourth Amendment Violations Fails

justice-471888_1280Undocumented immigrants who are facing removal proceedings need to have a strong legal basis to be able to evade deportation. Several immigrants who have entered the U.S. through less than legal means run the risk of being apprehended by immigration authorities. Once removal proceedings have been initiated, there might still be a chance for an immigrant to avoid the verdict of deportation. If an immigrant’s Fourth Amendment rights are violated, it is possible to file a petition to suppress the evidence that is brought against the immigrant and terminate the removal proceedings. In order for this to happen, it is crucial that enough evidence is brought to substantiate that the violation of the immigrant’s Fourth Amendment rights is egregious.

The case of Maria Yanez – Marquez illustrates how a Fourth Amendment violation can be introduced in removal proceedings. Yanez, a citizen of El Salvador, attempted to halt removal proceedings that were brought against her by stating that her Fourth Amendment rights were violated during an investigation that was conducted by agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Agents from ICE were investigating the Bontempos, owners of Annapolis Painting Services. The Bontempos were housing immigrants in their premises and ICE agents began to stage an investigation on the Bontempos’ property.

After securing a search warrant, the ICE agents entered the Botempos’ property at 5 A.M. on June 30, 2008. Yanez and her partner, Jose Umana Ruiz, were awakened by yells signaling the arrival of the agents on the Botempos’ premises. Officers entered the bedroom of Yanez and Umana as part of their investigation. After going through the area and conducting a thorough search, the ICE agents warned Yanez not to move to a different location before she received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security. On July 10, 2008, Yanez received a notice to appear from the DHS.

During the removal proceedings initiated against Yanez, she filed a motion to terminate the entire operation and suppress the evidence that was brought against her. Yanez argued that her Fourth Amendment rights were egregiously violated by the ICE agents when they initiated the investigations at 5 A.M. instead of the 6 A.M. time period stipulated on their warrant. Yanez also stated that the ICE agents used excessive force during their investigation. While the court did find the nighttime execution of a daytime warrant could be construed as a violation of Fourth Amendment rights, the violation was deemed not egregious given the nature of the circumstances. The court proceeded to reject Yanez’s other claims and denied her petition to terminate the removal proceedings.

Cases involving the complexities of immigration law require the knowledge of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.