FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) — A civil rights case in Frederick County is forcing the sheriff’s office to reevaluate how they work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Roxana Santos’ ordeal began nearly 12 years ago when she was detained while eating a sandwich during her lunch break. Now, her case is forcing reform.
In September 2008, Santos, an undocumented Salvadoran immigrant, was detained while eating a sandwich on her lunch break. She spoke with WJZ about the incident through a translator.
“The truth is, in that moment, I was arrested unjustly.”
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In 2009, Santos filled a civil case against Frederick County. A federal appeals court would later rule that state and local authorities cannot detain or arrest someone based solely upon an administrative immigration warrant.
“The court made clear that such an arrest was unconstitutional.”
That same case has now led to the Frederick County Sheriff’s office implementing two major policy changes. They are now prohibited from profiling or targeting individuals for law-enforcement actions based upon immigration status.
They are also now prohibited from detaining or arresting someone solely on a civil immigration warrant issued by ICE.
“It will hopefully make sure that others, like Roxana, will not be arrested on civil immigration enforcements while going about their days and duties.”
Nick Katz, the Senior Manager of Legal Services at CASA said, despite this settlement, the fight is not over.
“Our immigration system is still broken, Roxana is still fighting her case, this settlement doesn’t mean she’s not facing immigration consequences,” Katz said.
Santos’ immigration case is expected to last while they continue to fight for legal status.