Morales v. Chadbourne - A court case that The ACLU of Rhode Island is currently involved in.


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Morales v. Chadbourne (2012)

Category: Active Case    Discrimination    Racial/Ethnic Discrimination    Immigration    

"When I found out that I was being detained for immigration reasons, I was shocked,” U.S. citizen and North Providence resident Ada Morales said.  “I told the Rhode Island officials that I’m a U.S. citizen, and I offered to show them my naturalization certificate and passport, but no one would listen. They just assumed they could hold me because of my Guatemalan background and the color of my skin.” 

A lawsuit on behalf of the Ada Morales, a North Providence resident who has twice been detained as a deportable “alien” even though she is a U.S. citizen. The lawsuit alleges that federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials and Rhode Island officials often bypass Constitutional requirements and safeguards when they detain individuals on immigration grounds.

In February 2014, the U.S. District Court ruled that there are critical constitutional limits on the power of immigration and corrections officials to detain people while investigating their immigration status. In the opinion, U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. held that Ms. Morales “has set forth plausible allegations that she was unconstitutionally detained solely based on her national origin and Hispanic last name.”  In July of 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld that ruling. The district court presently has before it motions for summary judgment, and the ACLU is awaiting a decision on those motions.

Cooperating Attorneys: Mark Freel, Erika Lindberg, Omar Jadwat, and Kate Desormeau

Related Documents
Related News Releases
  • Nov 17, 2015 - Court Filings Show Immigration Officials Issue Detainers Against U.S. Citizens
  • Jul 17, 2015 - Appeals Court Rules Immigration Officials May Be Held Accountable For Unlawful Detention
  • Jul 23, 2014 - ACLU Urges Providence Police Department To Reject ICE Detainers Issued Without Judicial Oversight
  • Jul 17, 2014 - ACLU Applauds State’s Adoption of New Immigration Detainer Policy
  • Feb 13, 2014 - Court Holds Immigration and Corrections Officials May be Liable for Unlawful Detention of US Citizen
  • Apr 24, 2012 - ACLU Files Lawsuit Over Immigration Agency’s Unlawful Detention of U.S. Citizen