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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Workers Lose Case |Over Factory Raid

BOSTON (CN) - The 1st Circuit affirmed dismissal of a lawsuit brought by undocumented workers who were detained and whisked off to other states afterImmigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided aleather factory in New Bedford, Mass.

In the March 2007 raid, called "Operation United Front," ICE agentsarrested five executives of Michael Bianco Inc. and took more than 300 workers into custody on immigration-related charges.

Citing a shortage of bed space in Massachusetts, ICE transferred 90 detainees to Harlingen, Texas, and another 116 to El Paso. The workers said ICE failed to notify social workers about the raid and denied case workers access to detainees until after the first group had been transferred. As a result, many of the workers' children were left with no adult supervision.

"The ICE agents cast a wide net and paid little attention to the detainees' individual or family circumstances," Judge Selya wrote.

After dissecting the workers' constitutional claims, the district court dismissed their action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The workers' appeal, the circuit said, required the court "to detangle the Gordian knot of jurisdictional provisions created by recent amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act."

But the judges said they could find "no simple, one-size-fits-all answer," and concluded that some claims are unpreserved, some are barred by jurisdiction and others are simply not actionable. "The common denominator is that none of the claims can proceed in the district court," Selya wrote. See ruling.

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