ICE officials dispute appeals court ruling in Willmar raidsby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement are disputing a state appeals court ruling that ICE agents violated the constitutional rights of an illegal immigrant during a raid in Willmar two years ago.
The Minnesota Appeals Court earlier this week ruled that because immigration agents did not have a warrant when they searched her house and interrogated her, the evidence used to convict her later in Kandiyohi County violated the Fourth Amendment.
Iris Janeth Maldonado-Arreaga was arrested after immigration raids in Willmar and has since been deported to Honduras.
Tim Counts, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, denied that ICE agents committed any Fourth Amendment violations. He says ICE officers received express permission to enter Arreaga's home before they searched it.
"It is absolutely legal to enter the house and search if you obtain permission from the occupant and this is something that is frequently and purposely confused by those who defend some of these individuals. They say there was no search warrant, therefore it was a constitutional violation," Counts said. "It's not - because we obtained permission from the occupant to enter the house before entering."
He says it's true that ICE officers did not have a search warrant to enter the home but that the Fourth Amendment allows officers to obtain express permission to search a home in the absence of a search warrant.
Immigration attorney Rachel E.B. Lang, who was not an attorney in this case, says the court's ruling makes clear that ICE agents violated the constitution.
"The reason for that is that you don't know what someone's immigration status is before you talk to them, so you can't break into someone's house to talk to them because you think they are an illegal immigrant because you don't know who is in the house," Lang said.
Lang had previously served as Arreaga's immigration attorney in a separate case.