ACLU Sues Border Patrol Over Inland Sweeps

Brenda Gazzar, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Cal.), Dec. 15

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the government Wednesday in an effort to obtain records involving Border Patrol arrests this summer in Southern California’s inland areas, including Ontario.

The ACLU said it filed the suit in federal court in Los Angeles because the U.S. Customs and Border Protection—which oversees Border Patrol agents—did not comply with its requests for information in July.

More than 400 undocumented immigrants were arrested in June by the Mobile Patrol Group of the Temecula Border Patrol Station, including 79 in Ontario and 75 in Corona.

“We think that the community’s questions about why the raids happened remain unanswered,” said Ranjana Natarajan, an attorney with the ACLU of Southern California. “Our hope is that in these documents, we can get to the bottom of why they occurred in the first place and whether they were conducted in a lawful manner.”

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Activist Jose Calderon, a Pitzer College professor, said he was hopeful the lawsuit would cause the release of documents that would prove that human rights were violated and that racial profiling was used as he and others suspect.

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Andy Ramirez, executive director of Friends of the Border Patrol, said he believes the lawsuit is ludicrous.

“It’s nothing more than flexing muscle. For what? Illegal aliens,” Ramirez said. “They are not flexing their muscles for American citizens.”

Groups such as the ACLU, he said, “won’t let the Border Patrol agents and (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) do their jobs and enforce the laws.”

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