Illegal immigrants suing two West Michigan sheriff’s departments

WEST MICHIGAN - Michigan immigration laws are under fire after two Mexican citizens have decided to sue a pair of local county sheriff's departments.

Their lawyer, Anthony Alvarez with Avanti Law Group, PLLC, believes both agencies are unconstitutionally detaining and holding people, which impedes their civil freedoms.

Both cases are very similar: two illegal immigrants from Mexico were arrested after allegedly committing a crime. However, after posting bond, documents show both sheriffs’ departments still detained the individuals and turned them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Both men are awaiting possible deportation, but Alvarez says it’s not only unconstitutional for local municipalities to have done this, it’s illegal.

“Don’t you have a duty to uphold the constitution of the United States? And it says ‘you shall not hold someone without probable cause and without a warrant,’ and that’s what they’ve been doing for years,” Alvarez said.

In Michigan, immigration detainers have been a tool used by immigration and customs enforcement for years, as shown by “Trac Immigration.”

“And being unlawfully present in the U.S. is a civil infraction, it’s not a crime,” said Alvarez.

In 2015, nearly 2,000 ICE detainer requests went through Kent County corrections, with hundreds more reported in Allegan County. Alvarez says that number is growing.

“We’ve seen an uptick in the issuance of these detainers under President Trump,” Alvarez said. “And this is not just about immigration status, this is about following the constitution and ensuring the government cannot hold people illegally.”

Alvarez is now fighting back. In Kent County, Alvarez is representing Jose Romero-Lara, an illegal immigrant arrested on domestic violence charges. He says even after Romero-Lara was granted a personal recognizance bond from the court, the county detained him for 72 hours and turned him over to ICE.

“The minute the court said you’re free to go on your own personal recognizance, Mr. Romero-Lara was free to go,” Alvarez said.

Romer-Lara’s wife, Erika San Juanero, told FOX 17 the domestic abuse was a misunderstanding. Her husband is now in ICE custody and faces possible deportation. He’s expected back in court Oct. 5th for Jury Selection.

“I love him with all my heart and it hurts to go through this situation we’re going through,” San Juanero said. “I’m hoping for them to see what’s happening is not right because they’re separating families.”

As of this week, the same law firm is suing the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, representing Aaron Lopez Lopez who has been in the U.S. since 2001. Lopez Lopez is also facing deportation following similar circumstances.

ICE was unable to make a comment based on the pending litigation. Meanwhile, both Sheriff’s departments say they have not received the paperwork on the lawsuits in question.

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17 comments

  • RG

    If you are here illegally you should not have constitutional rights. Constitutional rights should only be for people here legally.

  • Kate

    There is nothing illegal about holding them to send them back. Just another way that the illegal immigrants suck up unearned tax dollars. And of course there is a slimy lawyer selling out the rights of American citizens in order to make himself rich off the tax paying Americans. Send the lawyer to Mexico with the worthless illegal immigrant criminals and give the sheriffs a pat on the back for a job well done !!

  • Jessie

    Funny thing about “Illegal Aliens”
    They are here illegally!
    They possess ZERO Constitutional Rights.

    Stop feeding them, and they will go home.

    • kate

      If they go home, nobody will feed you either bc food will rot in the fields. Your opinions are ignorant and you need to learn more about how much your rely on the people who seem to have so much disdain for.

      • 6thstreet

        You should check your facts before you call other ignorant .they is a federal program to bring in temporary workers they people choose to ignore the law. they think there better than all the true immgrants in the usa that followed the law and applied to be here

    • steve

      Unfortunately, Jessie, insane as it may sound yes they do. Illegals can sue American citizens. I wonder how you or I would be treated if we brought suit against a Mexican citizen in a Mexican court. Not quite in the same way,maybe?

  • J.B.

    No respect for the country, the citizens who live here or any laws whatsoever .
    But sure like to hide behind the lawyers, our constitution and scream about their “rights” being violated.
    These people make me sick.

  • C.Johnson

    How can citizens help our Sheriff Departments in this fight. While illegal aliens do enjoy nearly all the Constitutional rights that citizens have, isn’t there probable cause to hold them for deportation? After all, no one is denying that they are illegal aliens unlawfully present. Kudos to these Sheriff Departments for cooperating with ICE. As citizens, we expect all our state, local and federal agencies to cooperate with each other. And deporting illegal aliens is a very necessary and laudable endeavor.

    • 6thstreet

      the lawyer in this case is twisting the truth .it is in fact a crime to cross the border illegal.punishable by jail than deportation.he referring to is someone overstays a visa.the supreme court already ruled on this in Arizona v. United States (2012) they ruled that law enforcement can check immigration status and hold them for deportation

  • Tallie Jones

    hopefully people are seeing how aweful this problem is and how much of a drain these brown supremacists are on our society. they simply do not belong here. the honest people are waiting in line, those are the people we want, they honest people, not the cheaters.

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  • freetoairphoenix

    This is the way you show gratitude for the country you invaded illegally?? Is this a thank you, glad to be here, and so on. Mind you, these were people that were arrested for committing a crime- not for being illegal, but they broke a law. I’d bet if it were a sexual or drugs crime, they would not be shouting for “justice” so loudly, eh?