Civil rights law covers immigrants along with citizens

Being an immigrant in the United States can be a challenge. Despite their best efforts, even law enforcement officers here in Nashville may make assumptions about an individual because they might not be a citizen of the United States. Officers are cautioned against racial profiling, but that does not always stop all of them from conducting illegal stops, searches and seizures that can result in an arrest. Fortunately, civil rights law covers immigrants along with citizens.

After an arrest, you might be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without any further investigation to determine whether you are in the country legally. It is possible that ICE could hold you without actual legal cause under the auspice of confirming immigration status. In the meantime, you are kept from family, friends and work.

If this has happened to you or a member of your family, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. He or she should be familiar with immigration, criminal and civil rights laws. The first order of business will be a release from ICE. Thereafter, any illegally obtained evidence attached to the arrest will need to be suppressed, if possible. If a court in the Nashville area rules that the evidence was not obtained in accordance with current laws and procedures, additional action might be warranted.

The courts tend to frown on law enforcement agencies that violate civil rights law. If the evidence in your case suggests that your rights were violated, a lawsuit could be filed. Should a court determine that you were discriminated against because you are an immigrant, you may be entitled to monetary and/or non-monetary damages.