In an Oct. 19 ruling, Judge Charles Pannell Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia dismissed the suit targeting Warren’s use of the 287(g) program, a federal tool that helps Cobb police assist the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the deportation process.
According to the dismissal order, the lawsuit alleges that Cobb County Police Department officers failed to inform the plaintiffs of their Miranda rights, illegally seized immigration documents which would have allowed them to stay in the country and denied them access to lawyers. The lawsuit also alleges that the 287(g) program allows local authorities to wield immigration powers reserved to the federal government without proper oversight, according to the order.
The lawsuit sought to have the 287(g) program unconstitutional, according to the order.
Thomas Quigley of New York-based Winston & Strawn, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said he was taking the next few weeks to decide whether to appeal.
“Respectfully, we think the district court judge may have erred, and we are considering taking an appeal up to the 11th Circuit,” Quigley said.
Quigley said he could not go into details as to why he believed the ruling was in error.
Warren said he was pleased that the lawsuit was dismissed.
“In today’s society, the amnesty advocates will engage in every attempt to further their mission,” Warren said, adding that the 287(g) program has been an invaluable tool in helping identify illegal immigrants who have been charged with a crime in Cobb and brought into his custody.
“Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security and the current Administration have continuously underfunded all immigration enforcement for many years,” Warren said. “During these tough economic times, it is a shame that taxpayers have to fund the legal costs associated with such lawsuits.”
The order describes the plaintiffs and their allegations in the lawsuit.
n Corina Garcia-Albarran, a native and citizen of Mexico, was arrested by Cobb Police on allegations of shoplifting on March 11, 2010. Garcia-Albarran, the order states, entered the U.S. in 2004 “without authorization.” Garica-Albarran was not informed of her Miranda rights and was denied access to a lawyer, and the sheriff’s office kept her in custody after her husband posted bail so they could determine her immigration status, the suit alleges. Cobb State Court ultimately dismissed the shoplifting charge on Nov. 8, 2010.
n Maria Lourdes Segobiano-DeSoto, a native and citizen of Mexico, first entered the U.S. on a visitor status in 1998 with permission to remain until Sept. 17, 2004. After becoming involved in a car accident in Jan. 2010, she was arrested by Cobb police and failed to produce a valid Georgia driver’s license. The suit alleges that Segobiano-DeSoto was not informed of her immigration status, was kept in custody after posting bail so the sheriff’s office could determine her immigration status and was pressured to sign a document stating she was in the county illegally and consented to deportation. She did not sign the document, the suit says.
n Luis Magana is described as a national of El Salvador authorized to work in the U.S. Magana lost his physical driver’s license in 2009 and was arrested for forgery after receiving two traffic tickets in May 2010 for allegedly producing faked documents to get a replacement. The suit alleges that a Georgia Department of Public Safety investigator sought out Magana at his home without a warrant and questioned him without a lawyer present. It also alleges that Magana was not informed of his Miranda rights and was held after posting bail so the sheriff’s office could check his immigration status. The suit also alleges that Magana was coerced into signing a document releasing his 2-year-old daughter to the “care and company of a stranger,” according to the order.
Lee said he appreciated the court’s review and order dismissing the case.
“Sheriff Warren does a great job for the citizens of Cobb County, and I appreciate his leadership with the 287 (g) program,” Lee said.
D. A. King, president of The Dustin Inman Society, a pro-enforcement immigration watchdog group, said citizens should be grateful to Warren for being the first sheriff in Georgia to use the federal program. As for the lawsuit, King said, “This is just another example of the outrageous actions perpetrated by the anti-enforcement lobby who will do anything to stop the enforcement of American immigration laws.”