LOS ANGELES — This week, a federal court granted class certification in Kidd v. Mayorkas, a lawsuit challenging U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) practice of impersonating police officers, among other tactics, when conducting warrantless arrests of community members at their homes.
“This development is monumental for the millions of undocumented people who consider the U.S. their home," said Lizbeth Abeln, deportation defense director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ), a plaintiff in the case. "We will continue to equip community members with knowledge of their rights while standing steadfast in our fight to end ICE’s abusive practices. All people deserve due process but, above all, they should be able to feel safe in their own homes.”
The order certifies two classes of residents in the Southern California region, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, who have been or are at risk of being subjected to the policies and practices challenged in the lawsuit.
"Families subjected to these deceptive ICE procedures are unknowingly thrown into a carceral system they lack the legal resources to face," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), a plaintiff in the case. "These tactics are incursions into the privacy of our community members’ homes that gravely undermine efforts to bring about public safety by fostering trust. The court can and should put a stop to these unconstitutional practices once and for all."
These tactics include where ICE conducts an immigration enforcement operation at a home without proper identification by agents or without a warrant or valid consent. Evidence shows that these practices are widespread and have been endorsed by high-ranking officials in the agency.
“The court’s decision confirms that ICE’s practices impact not just a handful of individuals but our community as a whole," said Stephanie Padilla, staff attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. "Now, we can proceed with seeking class-wide relief against ICE’s unconstitutional enforcement actions.”
The case was filed in April 2020 by attorneys with the ACLU SoCal, the UC Irvine School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic and the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.
“This is a critical step forward in the litigation of this case, for our clients and for all those impacted by ICE’s practices,” said Giovanni Saarman González, an attorney with Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.
The court will hear motions for final relief in the case by June 12. A trial in the case is scheduled to commence August 29.
“This decision was only possible because individuals in the community courageously came forward to tell their stories,” said Sandra Guzman, a third-year student with the UCI Immigrant Rights Clinic. “We look forward to continuing to fight alongside them and the plaintiff classes.”