Immigrant family in Utah sues, saying agents ransacked home

Stock image, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A family from Mexico living in Utah filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing federal agents of busting down their door with a battering ram, ransacking their apartment and telling them they watch “too much Univision” when they asked to see a warrant.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service following what the family called two “swat-style raids” to the family’s home in Heber City, Utah, in April 2017.

The grandmother, Alicia Amaya Carmona, 48, was arrested and set up for deportation. Eight other family members were in the home, including four small children who are U.S. citizens and Carmona’s four adult children who are allowed to be here under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The children, who were between the ages of 2 and 6, were left terrified of police after the agents busted through the door late at night on the second visits and pointed rifles at the children were who already crying after being woken up, the lawsuit alleges.

The ACLU said the case illustrates the heavy-handed approach to immigration enforcement under President Donald Trump. Carmona doesn’t have legal paperwork to be in the U.S., but doesn’t have any criminal record — a category of immigrants that the Obama administration generally left alone.

“This is a very important lawsuit because we’re standing up for a family who has been subjected to horrible practices,” said John Mejia, legal director for the ACLU of Utah. “There needs to be accountability for this.”

ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said the agency doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits but said that should not be construed that it agrees with the allegations. The U.S. Marshals Service also declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing pending litigation, said spokeswoman Lynzey Donahue.

Carmona’s arrest reflects the Trump administration’s commitment to cast a wider net and not solely focus on immigrants here illegally who also have criminal records.

About 65 percent of ICE’s arrests from October to December were criminals, compared to 82 percent during the final full three months of the Obama administration, the agency said this month.

Looked at another way, arrests of criminals jumped 14 percent to about 25,600 from 22,500, but arrests of non-criminals nearly tripled to 13,600 from 4,900.

Carmona and her family weren’t at a news conference in Salt Lake City to announce the lawsuit, but said in statements provided by the ACLU that they hope the lawsuit prevents other immigrant families from enduring the same fear and ridicule they experienced.

The family, which is originally from Mexico, said in the lawsuit that agents threatened to take the children to child protective services if the family didn’t cooperate and at one point left the children out in the cold.

One agent told the family they were wasting money paying for a lawyer for Carmona because they would never win against ICE with “Trump’s new law.”

When one of the adult sons asked to see a warrant, an agent said the family “watched too much Univision” and that he didn’t need a warrant, the lawsuit alleges.

The agents broke the front door, knocked closet doors off the hinges, rummaged through drawers and beds and took $3,000 that Carmona had been saving to pay an immigration lawyer, the lawsuit says.

The ACLU argues the search was unlawful and violated the family’s Fourth Amendment rights.

“These families and their young children are now understandably terrified by police. The children may never go up to a police officer, even if in danger and needing help,” said Brittney Nystrom, executive director of the ACLU of Utah. “This is not normal. This is not lawful. This is not right.”

Written by BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • comments February 28, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    I’ve been noticing there are way more illegals here than when I moved here. There are actually apartment buildings in this town totally full of illegal aliens. There’s at least 1 public grade school that uses spanish as a first language; i think its called dixie sun elementary. It’s basically full of the children of illegals. I didn’t know it was bad to the point where we have entire schools dedicated to the children of illegal aliens. And these illegals have tons of kids. They breed like they’re on some kind of mission, heavily outbreeding mormons even. I don’t know if it’s because they’re catholic or if they’re just aiming to get numbers superiority over the gringos. Honestly, why do we even bother to have immigration laws?

    • youcandoit February 28, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      They probably breed to get more welfare we pay for. Send them back if they don’t want to become an American citizen. They’re a big reason why our taxes go up we become homeless

    • Striker4 March 1, 2018 at 12:26 am

      LOL ! and another load of B.S from the the prophet Bob showing he is absolutely clueless of what is being taught in school. lol the perfect poster boy for open mouth and insert foot ! way to go Prophet Bob

  • youcandoit February 28, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Wake up America if they’re here and don’t try to become an American citizen then they’re breaking the. We Americans are tired of paying for the illegals to have free medical food and housing. Are taxes get raised while we become homeless because the illegals want to live off our system. Wake up so if they want to be here then do it legally.

  • youcandoit February 28, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Breaking the law

  • Kyle L. February 28, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    If the children are the first generation to be scared of breaking the law of the land then they will be the first in their family.

  • No Filter February 28, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    You are all a bunch of racist idiots. Comments, Dixie Sun school is a duel immersion school that teaches in English and Spanish. The same way a school in Santa Clara teaches Chinese and English.

    • Striker4 March 1, 2018 at 12:27 am

      racist idiots ! you nailed it. !

    • comments March 1, 2018 at 1:04 am

      I guess “dual immersion school ” is the pc term for “school for children of illegal aliens”. I’ve visited the school. It’s no secret that most of the parents of the kids are illegal. The only language most of them hear at home is spanish. If they want to peddle a bunch of BS and call it dual immersion that’s their prerogative. But those of us with a brain know it’s a school for children of illegal aliens, and that’s why the primary language of the school is spanish.

      and the word is dual not duel, clown.

      And how is it racist to not want this town to turn into little tijuana. News flash to ‘no filter’: this country isn’t mexico. If you like mexico go and live there.

      The vast majority of them are mexican nationals. I think it’s safe to call them mexicans is it not?

      • No Filter March 1, 2018 at 9:02 am

        Your ignorance on this subject is so vast that I am not even going to correct you because it would take an entire week. Here is a link to why we use this program, educate yourself.

        • comments March 1, 2018 at 11:09 am

          and i guess they chose spanish instead of chinese or something out of pure coincidence. IT MUST HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT MANY MANY ILLEGAL ALIEN FAMILIES ARE CONCENTRATED IN THAT PART OF TOWN.


          • No Filter March 1, 2018 at 11:49 am

            And you know these families are illegal how? You work for ICE? Your a psychic? Nope your just a racist …*

            * Ed. ellipsis added.

          • comments March 1, 2018 at 12:35 pm

            I told you, clown. I’ve visited that school before.

            The best you leftists can do is cry “RACIST! RACIST RACIST!”

            I’ve known and worked with many fantastic hispanic people. This isn’t a race issue to me in the least. It’s about whether we are a country of laws or a country of open boarders free-for-all.

            You’ve show your true colors, and your a naive, arrogant, typical leftist clown.

        • No Filter March 1, 2018 at 1:10 pm

          We are a country of laws and I agree we need legal immigration, but attacking innocent families and children in our community about their immigration status is pathetic. You spouted off about a school program that you know nothing about just because you are afraid of people speaking Spanish. So during your visit to the school did you use your power of racism to determine who was a legal and was not? Brown skin, check. Spanish accent or Spanish language, check. Yup they are all illegal and should go back to Mexico.

    • Redbud March 1, 2018 at 5:36 am

      We don’t want or need “dual immersion” schools. If you are an American citizen, you need to learn English! If you refuse or won’t learn English, then GET OUT!

      • No Filter March 1, 2018 at 8:47 am

        So my children can’t learn a second language? All schools in Washington County are taught primarily in English and some offer Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese as a second language depending on the school. Why don’t you call the school district and ask them how many schools teach with this program. I’ll save you the time its 7 for Spanish and 8 schools use Chinese as their second language in dual immersion. Why don’t you leave your white trash bubble and get some culture. eres un pinchazo racista!

    • Real Life March 1, 2018 at 9:45 am

      Typical. “I don’t agree with you, so therefore you are racist”. B.S.

      • comments March 1, 2018 at 11:10 am

        they can’t be reasoned with. its amazing

  • rusty shackleford March 1, 2018 at 7:59 am

    This has nothing to do with race. It is about immigration status. An illegal alien is illegal regardless of where they come from. Just a quick reminder, illegal still means it’s against the law. Our country was made great by the many immigrants, from numerous countries. What you don’t see in that statement is the word “illegal”.

  • chupacabra March 1, 2018 at 8:33 am

    I love the dual immersion program at Dixie Sun. And all those “law breaking Hispanics” are some of the most kind and respectful people I’ve met.

    I pick my daughter up from Dixie Sun 5 days a week, I know that many of the families I see there crossed an imaginary line without bullsh** government permission. They are no less than me, in fact they are more brave than I am. They took action on a drastic scale to better their families lives, which is more than most Americans can say for themselves.

    Before you call me a libtard, or snowflake, please understand I desire true liberty. Not just the liberty defined by corrupt policymakers, a government of hucksters con artists.

    Google Voluntaryism and see if the principles there ring with “capital T” Truth.

    • comments March 1, 2018 at 11:11 am

      so you’re an open boarders advocate. Why don’t you just move to mexico? It would save the trouble of having to bring mexico here just to appease you.

  • chupacabra March 1, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Racism and nationalism are vile diseases.

    We have degraded from a liberty loving people to a government worshipping people.

    Pray to Trump, pray to Obama, pray to your government authority surely your Kings will grant you protection and security.

  • Craig March 1, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Are these people immigrants or illegal aliens?

    We need to remove illegal aliens from our nation. They do not have the values we should be espousing.

    I talked to a young lady who said her mother and father came here illegally. When her mom was pregnant with her older sister, her father said he could not be a good father having broken the law.

    He turned himself in, returned to Mexico, and immigrated legally. He said he could then be a good man and a good father.

    I tire of whiny excuses for failure.

  • mctrialsguy March 1, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    This is just the beginning…just wait. You haven’t seen anything yet. You in Utah have absolutely no idea what is coming!

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