*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

Los Angeles County Will Pay $14 Million to Immigrants Illegally Detained By the Police

According to a recent report from the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles County has agreed to pay $14 million in compensation to settle a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of immigrants who were unlawfully obtained by the Sheriff’s Department between 2010 and 2014. Here, our Southern California immigration attorney provides an overview of the allegations raised against Los Angeles County and the class action legal settlement.

Allegations: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Unlawfully Detained immigrants

The underlying misconduct in the case allegedly occurred between October of 2010 and June of 2014. During that time, representatives for the plaintiffs contend that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department unlawfully detained approximately 18,500 immigrants. In violation of basic constitutional protections, these immigrants were allegedly held for days, weeks, and in a few cases, even multiple months solely for the purposes of immigration enforcement.

After public pressure, local officials changed how they operated. In the summer of 2014, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department revised its practices and stopped holding immigrants on behalf of federal immigration authorities. Over the last few years, Los Angeles area law enforcement agencies have done even more to increase protections for immigrants. Still, this lawsuit shows that there is a long way to go to heal past scars and trauma.

Class Action Civil Rights Lawsuit Settled for $14 Million

The class action settlement is an important victory for immigrant rights in Southern California. It holds local law enforcement accountable for its previous failures. Lindsay Battles, an attorney for the plaintiffs, noted that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department improperly and unlawfully denied immigrants legal protections that were afforded to U.S. citizens. The case law is very clear: You do not need to be an American citizen to get legal protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment. Immigrants should have been granted the same right to post bail as everyone else detained by Los Angeles County.

Any immigrant who was unlawfully detained by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department between October of 2010 and June of 2014 may be a class member in the lawsuit. As was mentioned above, approximately 18,500 people were affected by the practice. A representative for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) noted that class members are expected to receive between $250 and $25,000 in financial compensation—depending largely on how long they were illegally detained by Los Angeles County. Any funds left unclaimed will be reserved for providing legal services to low-income immigrants in the Los Angeles area.

Call Our Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer for a Legal Guidance

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our California immigration attorney is a reliable, diligent advocate for clients. We are more than ready to comprehensively examine your case and help to find the best path forward. Your rights matter to us. Call our Los Angeles law office now for a strictly confidential strategy session. Our attorneys are proud to serve communities throughout all of Los Angeles County.

Josh Goldstein
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