As the sun sets on Maricopa County, Az., Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s quarter-century tenure, immigration-rights advocates marked the occasion by filing a new federal lawsuit against the lawman three weeks before his departure, the Arizona Republic reports. The case alleges that Sheriff’s Office officials illegally detain those suspected of unlawful presence in the U.S. while the individuals wait for an official immigration review by federal agents. The policy is known as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer. After an individual is booked into a Maricopa County jail, ICE may request the individual be held for up to 48 hours after he or she would have otherwise been released. If ICE finds an individual is in the U.S. illegally, the process can initiate deportation proceedings.
The lawsuit alleges that the detainers lack probable cause to hold a person in custody, and their actions are unconstitutional. The plaintiff, a 31-year-old activist named Jacinta Gonzalez Goodman, said she was arrested and held overnight in jail without probable cause based on a detainer request. Gonzalez was arrested in March during a political rally protesting then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Gonzalez, who is Hispanic, said she was accused of blocking the highway along with two white men who were not questioned by ICE in the jails. The men were released from custody the same evening, she said. Gonzalez, a Mexican-born U.S. citizen, said she provided her Louisiana driver’s license to ICE officials, but was still forced to stay the night on the detainer. She was released after being transferred to an ICE facility the following day.