SPLC lawsuit: Family detained, searched in Mis…

SPLC lawsuit: Family detained, searched in Mississippi because they ‘looked’ Latino:



“All the van’s occupants
were in the country legally, either by virtue of their U.S. citizenship,
legal residency or valid visas. Stephanie Martinez and her three
children are U.S. citizens.”

This, of course, made no difference whatsoever:

“This Latino family was detained by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office
for approximately four hours, without any reason to believe that they
had committed a crime. During the detention, the deputy – who announced
that he was looking for ‘illegals’ – confiscated the family’s passports
and valid immigration documents, and repeatedly threatened the father,
Marcos Martinez, with losing his lawful permanent residency if he did
not admit to possessing drugs. … A sheriff’s deputy drove Stephanie Martinez to tears by threatening
to separate her from her three children. …
The family’s harrowing experience ended only after Stephanie Martinez
made a 911 call from a room inside the sheriff’s office where the family
was being held… Soon afterward, the family was told that they could leave.
Nothing illegal was ever found and no member of the family was ever
charged with a crime or even received a traffic ticket.”

Local law enforcement officials such as Hancock County sheriff’s deputies cannot perform the functions of an immigration officer except under very narrow circumstances, such as in a formal agreement with the federal government. Hancock County has no such agreement.