The ACLU represented two Latino residents of Grand Rapids, Telma and Luis Valdez, who were detained and assaulted by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) even though Luis is a U.S. citizen and Thelma is a lawful permanent resident.

The mother and son drove to a relative’s house to show their six-year-old cousin their new puppy when ICE agents pulled into the driveway demanding ID. Even though they both produced a Michigan driver’s license, they were handcuffed at gunpoint. One agent banged Telma’s head against the car while yelling at her to admit that she was someone else.

The ACLU of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Valdezes against the federal government and the six ICE agents responsible. In November 2014, Judge Robert Jonker dismissed part of the case in a summary judgment ruling. Telma’s claim against the ICE agents for using excessive force against her was settled in March 2015.

(Valdez v. United States; ACLU Attorney Miriam Aukerman and Legal Fellows Marc Allen and Sofia Rahman; Cooperating Attorneys Rhett Pinsky and Maura Hagen; Susan Reed, Katie D’Adamo and Anna Hill of the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.)

View the full 2014-2015 Legal Docket.

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