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Montana ACLU and partner groups issue joint letter "Standing up to ICE"

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HELENA, Mont. -

The ACLU of Montana and partner groups issued a joint statement Wednesday pertaining to a federal filing, Monday, regarding an immigration case originating out of Gallatin County.

That case was filed with the Montana Supreme Court on November 7th. The petitioner is Arturo Valerio-Gonzales against Jason Jarrett, in his official capacity as acting Jail Administrator for Gallatin County.

The case follows the June 26th arrest of Arturo Valerio-Gonzales by Gallatin County Sheriff's Deputies for Misdemeanor sexual assault. 

In the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Annie DeWolf, attorney for Valerio-Gonzales, contends;

That same day, the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) faxed the Gallatin County Detention Center (GCDC)
two pages: Immigration Detainer — Notice of Action and Warrant for Arrest.

The Petition explains that ICE can ask local law enforcement to hold a defendant for up to 48 hours after they would normally be released.

However, DeWolf argues:

ICE detainers corrupt the administration of justice. When a detainer is
accepted, Montana seizes a person without the authority of any state or federal law,
without approval by any judge or magistrate, without a particularized showing of
probable cause. With no opportunity to challenge the seizure, guarantees of both
the Montana and U.S. Constitution are ignored.

The petition continues explaining that Valerio-Gonzales has the means to post bail under his original charge but opts not to do so due to the 48-hour ICE hold. 

DeWolf concludes: 

Based on the foregoing, Mr. Valerio-Gonzales requests this Court allow this
petition and order his release from GCDC notwithstanding the federal immigration
detention request once he posts bail.

On December 4th the Federal Government entered their brief arguing:

...this case raises issues of substantial interest to the United States.

The habeas petition pending before this court alleges that Gallatin County, Montana's cooperation with federal immigration detainers violates federal and state law, the Fourth Amendment (and its Montana analogue), and Tenth Amendment to the United States.

These claims directly implicate questions of law regarding federal immigration detainers, which involve the Executive's "undoubted power over the subject of immigration and the status of aliens," as well as Acts of Congress and the federal government's implementation of those acts through federal regulations and policies.

The ACLU of Montana contends in their statement:

Under this illegal and cynical immigration agenda, any person of color or non-English speaker in Montana is presumed to be guilty and deportable.

Using these detainers to carry out President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda debases American democratic values, destroying due process protections and the bedrock principle that an individual cannot be jailed without probable cause.

You can read all the documents in full below.

ACLU of Montana Statement

Arturo Valerio-Gonzales - PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

Federal Government Brief

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