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Civil Rights Groups Announce Settlement in Federal Lawsuit over Illegal Immigration Arrests

July 7, 2022 News

Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus: media@advancingjustice-alc.org

ACLU Foundation of Northern California: press@aclunc.org

Civil Rights Groups Announce Settlement in Federal Lawsuit over Illegal Immigration Arrests

LOS ANGELES - Today, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus and the ACLU Foundation of Northern California announced a settlement agreement that will prevent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from illegally using a third-party contractor, G4S Secure Solutions, Inc., to arrest people at jails and prisons to funnel them into the deportation pipeline.

To avoid continued litigation, ICE agreed to stop the unlawful practice of using private contractors, including G4S, to arrest someone when they are released by CDCR or local law enforcement into ICE custody.

Federal law prohibits ICE from using private security to make immigration arrests. However, as explained in our federal lawsuit, immigration officials have willfully flouted the law going back since at least 2016.

“This is a key legal victory that should put an end to G4S’ illegal practice of arresting people, cruelly ripping them away from their families and shipping them off to out-of-state ICE detention centers ravaged by COVID,” said Vasudha Talla, former Immigrants' Rights Program Director at the ACLU of Northern California. “The state of California is well aware that G4S has a long history of abusive practices yet continues to voluntarily collaborate and turn people over to the private contractor. We believe today’s settlement is an important step toward dismantling its cooperation with ICE.”

G4S Secure Solutions is the U.S-based subsidiary of G4S, the world’s largest security corporation. Before this settlement, G4S transferred countless immigrant Californians to ICE.

Case Profile

In February 2021, the civil rights organizations filed a class-action complaint in United States District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of plaintiff Gabriela Solano. The lawsuit sought an injunction against the head of ICE and immigration officials who run the Los Angeles and San Francisco Field offices, barring them from using any private contractor, including G4S, to make arrests.

Gabriela Solano
, 49, was a legal permanent resident and survivor of domestic violence. The state of California granted her parole because of her demonstrated rehabilitation during her 22 years of incarceration. Yet while her family waited outside the prison gates to welcome her home, the CDCR transferred Solano to ICE and a G4S contractor. She spent three months detained in Aurora Colorado, then ICE deported her to Mexico.

“I am hundreds of miles away from all of my family and friends, trying to make my way in a country I have not set foot in since I was two years old,” Solano said. “I pray Governor Newsom will grant me a pardon so that I can reunite with my loved ones.”

The VISION Act

Jenny Zhao, a senior staff attorney at Asians Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus said Solano’s case is a prime example of why the California legislature must pass the VISION Act (AB 937). It would ensure that once people have served their sentences and are ordered released, or have their charges dropped, they are not processed for deportation and instead are able to reunite with their families.

“We need the legislature and the governor to take action now to stop tearing apart immigrant and refugee families,” Zhao said. “You have someone like Gabriela Solano who worked so hard to rehabilitate herself, who the state of California itself said presented no risk to society, and yet ICE ripped her away from her family and forcibly returned her to Mexico. It makes absolutely no logical sense, is inhumane and has caused unnecessary suffering.”

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, is co-counsel.