Many Michigan counties have been keeping immigrants in custody because of “ICE Detainers.” An ICE Detainer asks an enforcement agency to retain inmates beyond the time they would have been otherwise released, allowing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents to intercept them.


Two examples illustrate the issue. A jail in Kent County recently complied with an ICE Detainer and held a Mexican citizen for 72 hours even though he had been given a personal recognizance bond. That means his release should have occurred as quickly as possible, but it didn’t due to the ICE Detainer. Similarly, a jail in Allegan County held another Mexican citizen for 17 hours after his bond posted, due to an ICE Detainer.  In Kent and Allegan Counties alone, sheriffs have received a combined total of nearly 2,000 ICE Detainers since 2015.

Multiple Constitutional Rights Violations by Michigan County Jails

By depriving immigrants of liberty without legal authority, these counties are violating the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, in addition to committing false imprisonment.  Sheriffs in all counties are responsible for running facilities that meet constitutional standards. Given the high volume of ICE Detainers and the sheriffs’ duties to maintain jails that uphold constitutional rights for inmates, they must have known that holding immigrants beyond their facility’s authority was unconstitutional.  If not, they should have—numerous federal courts have already ruled that detaining someone based only on an ICE Detainer violates the person’s constitutional rights.

Sommers Schwartz Filing Class Actions against Michigan Counties

Sommers Schwartz is committed to defending the constitutional rights of wrongfully detained immigrants and is bringing class action suits against Michigan counties illegally detaining immigrants. Two class action suits were filed October 20, 2017, against Kent and Allegan County and their respective sheriffs. Numerous individual suits with similar facts have been successful already, resulting in substantial recoveries for plaintiffs.

Sommers Schwartz wants to help you recover damages. Please contact the Sommers Schwartz Class Action Litigation Group today if you or someone you know was deprived of liberty by a Michigan county jail due to an ICE Detainer.