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Lawsuit honoring rights of immigrants moves forward

Protections and responsibilities outlined under American law are binding on all citizens. Some of these protections also apply to non-citizen immigrants and some do not. But other laws specifically related to visa and immigration matters uniquely protect non-citizens. When these laws are broken, non-citizens have every right to hold law-breakers accountable in court.

This week, a federal judge ruled that a case filed by the Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center may proceed in federal court. The lawsuit specifically alleges that certain federal immigration detainers have repeatedly infringed upon the rights of immigrants.

Though the case involves one particular plaintiff, the lawsuit may be expanded to a class-action involving other immigrants who have been treated similarly. The particular plaintiff in this case was mistakenly and unjustly held in jail for six months on suspicion that he was an undocumented immigrant.

The law protects individuals from being incarcerated beyond certain time limits while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigates their legal status. When persons are held beyond these time limits, they may seek compensation for their time spent in unjust incarceration, regardless of whether or not they are properly documented.

An individual's immigration status may allow for or bar certain kinds of employment, and undocumented immigrants may be deported for their lack of documentation. However, no individual may be unjustly detained due to suspicion of immigration status alone beyond a certain time period.

If you or a loved one has been unjustly detained for a significant period for this reason, you may wish to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney with any questions you might have in order to take advantage of your rights under the law.

Source: Fox News Latino, "Suit against immigration detainers to go forward," Dec. 4, 2012

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