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Rios v. Jenkins

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division

July 15, 2019

FRANCISCO GUARDADO RIOS, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTT JENKINS, Sheriff of Culpeper County, Virginia, in his individual capacity, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge.

         Francisco Guardado Rios filed this action against Scott Jenkins, Sheriff of Culpeper County, Virginia, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Rios alleges that Jenkins' policy of holding individuals in custody for up to 48 additional hours at the request of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") division of the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The case is presently before the court on the defendant's motion to dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, the plaintiffs claims under § 1983 will be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The court will decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining claim of false imprisonment in violation of Virginia law.

         Statutory and Legal Background

         The court begins with the relevant statutory and legal background, which provides a framework for understanding the facts alleged in the complaint.

         The federal government has "broad, undoubted power over the subject of immigration and the status of aliens." Arizona v. United States, 567 U.S. 387, 394 (2012); see also U.S. Const, art. I, § 8, cl. 4 (granting Congress the power to "establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization"). In 1952, Congress enacted the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"), 66 Stat. 163, as amended, 8 U.S.C. § 1101, et sefl. "That statute established a 'comprehensive federal statutory scheme for regulation of immigration and naturalization' and set 'the terms and conditions of admission to the country and the subsequent treatment of aliens lawfully in the country.'" Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting, 563 U.S. 582, 587 (2011) (quoting De Canas v. Bica, 424 U.S. 351, 353, 359(1976)).

         Congress has empowered the Secretary of DHS to enforce the INA. Nielsen v. Preap, 139 S.Ct. 954, 959 n.2 (2019). This includes authority to "arrest and hold an alien 'pending a decision on whether the alien is to be removed from the United States.'" Id. at 959 (quoting 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a)). Although removal proceedings are civil in nature, rather than criminal, Immigration & Naturalization Serv. v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032, 1038 (1984), the Supreme Court has recognized that "[d]etention during removal proceedings is a constitutionally permissible part of that process," Demore v. Hyung Joon Kim, 538 U.S. 510, 531 (2003); see also Arizona, 567 U.S. at 407 ("As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain present in the United States .... The federal statutory structure instructs when it is appropriate to arrest an alien during the removal process. For example, the Attorney General can exercise discretion to issue a warrant for an alien's arrest and detention pending a decision on whether the alien is to be removed from the United States.") (citations omitted).

         "Because the Constitution grants Congress plenary authority over immigration, state and local law enforcement officers may participate in the enforcement of federal immigration laws only in 'specific, limited circumstances' authorized by Congress." Santos v. Frederick Cty. Bd. of Comm'rs, 725 F.3d 451, 463 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting Arizona, 567 U.S. at 410). For instance, "[l]ocal law enforcement officers may assist in federal immigration efforts under 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g)(1)," which authorizes ICE to enter into written agreements with local law enforcement agencies that allow local officers to perform the functions of federal immigration officers. Id. at 463-64; see also United States v. Sosa-Carabantes, 561 F.3d 256, 257 (4th Cir. 2009) ("The 287(g) Program permits ICE to deputize local law enforcement officers to perform immigration enforcement activities pursuant to a written agreement.")-[1] "Even in the absence of a written agreement," local law enforcement officers may '"cooperate"' with federal immigration enforcement efforts pursuant to § 1357(g)(10). Santos, 725 F.3d at 464 (quoting 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g)(10)(B)). Because the parties focus heavily on this provision of the INA, the court quotes it in full:

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require an agreement under this subsection in order for an officer or employee of a State or political subdivision of a State-
(A) to communicate with the Attorney General regarding the immigration status of any individual, including reporting knowledge that a particular alien is not lawfully present in the United States; or
(B) otherwise cooperate with the Attorney General in the identification, apprehension, detention, or removal of aliens not lawfully present in the United States.

8 U.S.C. § 1357(g)(10).

         In Arizona v. United States, the Supreme Court recognized that "[t]here may be some ambiguity as to what constitutes cooperation" under this provision of the INA. 567 U.S. At 410. The Court ultimately concluded that "no coherent understanding of the term would incorporate the unilateral decision of state officers to arrest an alien for being removable absent any request, approval, or other instruction from the Federal Government." Id. "Thus, Arizona v. United States makes clear that under Section 1357(g)(10) local law enforcement officers cannot arrest aliens for civil immigration violations absent, at a minimum, direction or authorization by federal officials." Santos, 725 F.3d at 466.

         "One way in which ICE requests cooperation of state officials without written agreements is by issuing a Form 1-247 immigration detainer." Abriq v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville & Davidson Cry., 333 F.Supp.3d 783, 787 (M.D. Term. 2018); see also Lopez-Lopez v. Cty. of Allegan, 321 F.Supp.3d 794, 797 (W.D. Mich. 2018) (explaining that the issuance of a Form 1-247 immigration detainer is "[o]ne method in which the federal government requests the cooperation of state authorities"). Such detainers "serve[] to advise another law enforcement agency that [ICE] seeks custody of an alien presently in the custody of that agency, for the purpose of arresting and removing the alien." 8 C.F.R. § 287.7(a). The detainers "ask two things of the state or local agency: that it notify ICE at least 48 hours before a removable alien is released from custody; and that it detain a removable alien for up to 48 hours past the time that the alien would have otherwise been released to allow ICE to apprehend the individual." City of Philadelphia v. Attorney Gen, of the United States, 916 F.3d 276, 281 (3d Cir. 2019); see also 8 C.F.R. § 287.7(a), (d).

         As of April 2, 2017, ICE policy requires that immigration detainers be accompanied by a signed administrative warrant attesting to probable cause of removability from the United States. City of Philadelphia. 916 F.3d at 281; Lopez-Lopez, 321 F.Supp.3d at 797. "Administrative warrants differ significantly from warrants in criminal cases in that they are not issued by a detached and neutral magistrate." Lopez-Lopez, 321 F.Supp.3d at 799. Instead, "the warrants are executed by federal officers who have received training in the enforcement of immigration law." Arizona, 567 U.S. at 408 (citing 8 C.F.R. §§ 241.2(b), 287.5(e)(3)). The use of such warrants has long been authorized by statute. See 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a) ("On a warrant issued by the Attorney General, an alien may be arrested and detained pending a decision on whether the alien is to be removed from the United States.''): see also Abel v. United States, 362 U.S. 217, 234 (1960) (noting that there is "overwhelming historical legislative recognition of the propriety of administrative arrest for deportable aliens").

         Factual Background

         Against this backdrop, the court turns to the factual allegations in this case, which are taken from the complaint and the attached exhibits. See Goines v. Valley Cmty. Servs. Bd., 822 F.3d 159, 166 (4th Cir. 2016) (noting that the court may consider exhibits to a complaint when ruling on a motion to dismiss).

         On August 13, 2017, Rios was arrested for two misdemeanor offenses under Virginia law: driving without a license and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Compl. ¶ 27, Dkt. No. 1. He was committed to the custody of the Culpeper County Jail (the "Jail"), which is managed and supervised by Jenkins. Id. ¶¶ 12, 27.

         That same day, the Jail received two forms from ICE: a DHS Form I-247A Immigration Detainer - Notice of Action ("ICE detainer") and a DHS Form 1-200 Warrant for Arrest of Alien ("administrative warrant"). The ICE detainer indicated that DHS had determined that there was probable cause to believe that Rios was a removable alien. Compl. Ex. A, Dkt. No. 1-2. It requested that the Jail "[n]otify DHS as early as practicable (at least 48 hours, if possible) before the alien is released from [the Jail's] custody." Id. The ICE detainer also requested that the Jail "[m]aintain custody of the alien for a period NOT TO EXCEED 48 HOURS beyond the time when he/she would otherwise have been released from [the Jail's] custody to allow DHS to assume custody." Id. (emphasis in original). The ICE detainer indicated that "[t]he alien must be served with a copy of this form for the detainer to take effect." Id. The form was signed by Immigration Officer B. Mednick. Id.

         The accompanying administrative warrant was directed to the attention of "[a]ny immigration officer authorized pursuant to sections 236 and 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and [the associated regulations] to serve warrants of arrest for immigration violations." Compl. Ex. B, Dkt. No. 1 -2. The ICE warrant indicated that an immigration officer had "determined that there is probable cause to believe that [Rios] is removable from the United States." Id. It "commanded" that Rios be "arrest[ed] and take[n] into custody for removal proceedings under the Immigration and Nationality Act." Id. The warrant was signed by Immigration Officer C. Wamsley. Id.

         Deputy J. Glascock signed both ICE forms on behalf of the Jail. The deputy indicated that the forms were served on Rios on ...


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