Many legal immigrants and U.S. citizens of Latin American origin live with the fact that they are singled out because of their race. It is more common in some areas than others, but it can happen anywhere. So it is more sad than surprising that Ramon Torres was illegally detained in August of 2018 for four days by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana.
A citizen of the United States for 10 years, Torres was able to produce a legal driver’s license, a passport and a Social Security card. The local court even ordered his release the day after he was detained on suspicion of DUI, but the Sheriff’s Office ignored the order and put an immigration hold on him, keeping him locked up.
Local sheriff detains all Latinx
According to the ACLU, the local sheriff based its suspicion that he was an illegal immigrant because of his name and the color of his skin. The staff of the sheriff’s office explained that it had a policy of detaining all Latinx people and locking them up for immigration review. Even after friends provided additional documentation, the sheriff’s office did not change its mind. Torres remained there until a lawyer got involved on his behalf.
ACLU sues on Torres behalf
This flagrant disregard for Torres’s Constitutional rights should not be allowed, so the Louisiana chapter of the ACLU sued Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office for racial profiling. They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. Mr. Torres has a private attorney as well as two lawyers with the ACLU on his side.
Many Latinx live in fear, and we understand that there is a good reason to be afraid in this political climate. However, it is essential to remember the United States’ laws are here to protect the citizens of this great country. Those who feel that their rights have been abused should contact an attorney who has experience standing up for immigrants and their families. These professionals can help make sure that their clients receive the legal protection and respect they deserve.