A Minnesota woman was leaving her sister’s birthday party last summer when her car full of young kids was rear-ended. She was arrested, not the driver, and now she’s facing deportation.
Myriam Parada sued Anoka County Police in a federal court on Thursday for calling federal immigration officials and racially profiling her after she was involved in a car accident in July 2017 (PDF). Parada was booked for not showing the proper ID and issued an administrative warrant by Immigration and Customs Enforcement when she was released the next day. The lawsuit follows a similar lawsuit filed by a Washington man who was turned into ICE after calling the cops for help.
Last July, Parada was leaving her sister’s birthday party in a car with young passengers when a driver rear-ended her vehicle, the complaint stated. A Coon Rapids police officer arrived on the scene and asked for identification from both Parada and the other driver, an unidentified 24-year-old white woman.
Parada showed Coon Rapids Officer Nicolas Oman her Mexican Consular card, because she did not have a driver’s license. Oman arrested the immigrant because he was “unable to positively identify her,” according to a police report cited in the court filings. The other driver, who had a history of violations, including drunk driving, was let go.
A Coon Rapids police spokesman told The Star-Tribune that it is not “unheard-of” for cops to arrest people who lack identification.
“Anoka County jail staff and Officer Oman never were in doubt about Plaintiff’s true identity.” Parada was arrested based on a “suspected immigration status,” which violated her Fourth Amendment rights, attorneys for Parada wrote in the lawsuit.
After she arrived to the Anoka County jail, officials put Parada on the phone with ICE officials. According to court documents, she asked if a lawyer was needed. ICE officials allegedly told her “it goes faster without a lawyer,” so Parada answered their questions.
ICE later issued an administrative warrant and a draft of a detainer to Anoka County police. Administrative warrants can only be enforced by federal immigration officials, not local police. The detainer was never officially served to Parada.
Anoka officials gave Parada a ticket for not having a driver’s license and handed her over to two ICE agents who took her to another county jail. She was released from custody after her family paid a bond.
In response to the lawsuit, Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart said officers “make timely notifications in case they wish to respond in a timely manner,” but they don’t keep inmates based only on ICE detainers, The Star-Tribune reported.
The warrant was Parada’s first run-in with immigration officials, according to her attorney Amanda Cefalu. “The overarching principle here is that immigrants have the same constitutional rights as all citizens,” said Cefalu, who said Parada’s encounter with police showed a lack of due process.
Parada’s case adds to rising tensions under the Trump administration between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials, according to Michael Kagan, director of the Immigration Clinic at University of Nevada at Las Vegas. “You have some localities that want to separate their law enforcement from immigration enforcement as much as possible and then you have some that have tried to draw closer to trump administration,” said Kagan.
Kagan adds that the tactics used during the rising number of immigration raids and arrests questions the constitutionality of ICE’s actions.
“Regardless of one’s opinions—there’s something alarming going on with the way ICE arrests you. Essentially, if federal officers accuse you of being in the United States unlawfully you’ll have fewer safeguards than a murderer.”