ICE Performs Warrantless Raid Of Private Farm; Draws Heat From State And Federal Officials

from the 'rule-of-law,'-my-ass dept

A recent ICE raid of a New York farm made national headlines thanks to the agency’s apparent disregard for the Fourth Amendment, among other things. The show of force, coupled with the lack of Constitutional compliance, presented ICE as ruthless enforcers of the law. But there’s not much respect for the “rule of law” contained in these actions, no matter how the current administration — with its emphasis on expelling foreigners from the US — presents itself.

John Collins was standing outside the milk house at his dairy farm this morning when he heard yelling coming from inside. He ran in, he says, and saw his worker, Marcial de Leon Aguilar, pinned up against the window by armed men.

The men did not identify themselves and were screaming at Aguilar, Collins said.

“I run and say, ‘What the hell is going on in here?'” Collins said.

Then the men told Collins they were officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He asked them for a warrant or some paperwork to explain what they were doing. They had none, he said, so he ordered them to get off his property and leave Aguilar alone.

As this happened, Collins said, Aguilar’s children watched. They were waiting nearby for the school bus to come. Collins said the officers put Aguilar in handcuffs and took him across the rural road to their vehicles. At least seven officers had come onto the small farm, Collins said.

This resulted in immediate backlash from prominent New York government officials. Governor Andrew Cuomo sent an angry letter [PDF] to the agency chastising it for its apparent refusal to respect Constitutional protections.

Your agency’s aggressive claims of upholding the rule of law belie the fact that the pattern of conduct and blatant constitutional violations committed by both agents in the field and regional leadership actually reflect a readiness to sink to lawlessness.


The persistent failure of your agents to properly identify themselves or produce required documentation to conduct lawful searches and arrests is illegal and creates significant risk of harm to all New Yorkers, including law enforcement who have also been left unaware of your activities within the communities they are entrusted to protect.

NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand followed the governor’s letter with a demand for a federal investigation.

Unbelievably, ICE thinks its actions — a warrantless raid conducted on private property — are Constitutional.

Agents were within their rights to be on the farm and did not need a warrant, ICE spokesperson Khaalid Walls told [Vice Media’s Eoin Higgins] in an email. The agency said that its actions were justified because de Leon-Aguilar’s wife Virginia, who is enrolled in the Alternatives to Detention program, which allows her to stay out of immigration detention while she goes through immigration court proceedings, had missed a number of appointments.

“After having missed several scheduled reporting dates,” said Walls, “the resident was deemed to be out of compliance with the terms of the program, necessitating a home visit, which does not require a judicial warrant.”

This is wrong. First of all, the raided farm was private property. Even if a home visit was in order, the home resided on property owned by someone else. This wasn’t a rental property with only a door separating residents from the outside world. And this was no “home visit.” The plainclothes ICE officers showed up, trespassed on private property, and effected an arrest. No permission to enter was sought and no warrant was presented.

ICE can’t honestly say it doesn’t need warrants to perform these actions. Its own training manual (published by Unicorn Riot) stresses the need for warrants. Searches still require warrants, even if they’re looking for illegal activity. ICE can search businesses for illegal workers, but it still needs “Blackie’s” warrants (named after a 1981 case brought against the INS), which allow the government to search for people, rather than property. There is no known warrant exception to intrude on private land to search for illegal workers. ICE may feel the Alternatives to Detention program gives it the right to search homes occupied by members of the program (and it does), but when the home resides on property owned by a US citizen, the barrier to entry remains a search warrant. The immigrant arrested in this case had proper documentation to work and resided in a house owned by John Collins on the Collins’ property. To reach the house, ICE had to enter private property owned by someone ICE had zero interest in: a legal resident and American citizen.

The lawsuit that’s certain to follow this intrusion will sort out the Constitutionality of ICE’s actions. At this point, they appear completely unconstitutional, but qualified immunity and the good faith exception may allow the agency to escape liability for the actions of its officers.

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Comments on “ICE Performs Warrantless Raid Of Private Farm; Draws Heat From State And Federal Officials”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

We have to trample your rights to protect you!!!
Stop squirming, we’re tasing you for your own good.

Perhaps ICE would like to explain why if they were looking for the wife, they decided to detain someone else.

This ‘Merika is what you signed up for when you demanded to be protected at all costs & surrendered your rights to create a safety bubble.

While you might think they only use it on bad people…
They violated the farmers rights, the rule of law, & harassed someone working legally.

Perhaps it is time to stop pretending they are super soldiers that are our only defense against the horde. That perhaps all of the cover they;ve been given time & time again for their actions have turned them into those willing to abuse anyone who crosses their path b/c nothing bad happens to them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Stupid or brave?

The way the ICE Agents acted seems like a very good way to get killed and the killers acquitted. Unidentified men with guns, passaulting his staff. If he had a gun at hand and opened fire he would have a damn good claim to self defense. Plainsclothes make his belief very reasonable too. He wasn’t obligated to act first in a very dangerous situation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Stupid or brave?

100% agree. From this article and others, ICE was not following their own rules and honestly need to be shut down. The constitution says we are all free to pursue life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It says nothing about having to be a citizen for that to happen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Stupid question:

no you silly fuck, this is not it.

The German roundup was clearly worse as evidenced by people not hiding in secret basements and openly working inside of the property in visible sight complete with children in proximity and also not in hiding.

While neither of these events are okay, constantly comparing minor events to major events as though they are one and the same eventually gives everyone the “little boy who cryied wolf” syndrome. You are only damaging your position by advancing this shit.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Stupid question:

The German roundup ended up being worse, but it had a start. What did that look like?

What is currently going on the the US does look like a start (maybe the same, maybe not) and it is not hard to extrapolate a similar end. Maybe we can change it before it gets too bad, but if we don’t, it might become worse than the German roundup.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Stupid question:

So? The anti-gun lobby is doing the same thing…

Everything starts somewhere, but to draw a final conclusion by directly comparing it to something demonstrably worse but calling it samesies is a tad bit juvenile and self serving.

What you are seeing is the same thing that has been going on for a long time. There has been a consistent and intentional effort to erode the constitution to the point where it no longer matters.

There are efforts to take away guns,
there are efforts to silence certain speech,
there are efforts to divide people by group and ethnicity,
there are efforts to imprison innocents for commercial gain.
there are efforts to make people think that the constitution means something it does not through changes in language and redefining what things mean for political expediency.

“Maybe we can change it before it gets too bad, but if we don’t, it might become worse than the German roundup.”

Well that depends on the benchmark you use now doesn’t it? In some ways we are worse, but for now… we are not worse in that way yet and we are a long way off of “that” mark!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Stupid question:

Hey, I am a big fan of the slippery slope theory, but there is no intention to mass murder these people.

What we have is law enforcement breaking the law under the guise of enforcing the law, something that happens all the fucking time without nearly a single fucking person willing to change who they vote for in their “religious” political parties.

I bet if this ranch had guns instead of illegals that story would be different now would it not? would you make the same we are becoming Germany remarks then?

would you be saying…
“It all starts out nice and civil like .. and then the shit hits the fan.”

And for the record, I do agree that is is not good, I just don’t agree with trying to place it at the level of the holocaust.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Stupid question:

“there is no intention to mass murder these people.”
– and you would know this how?

“enforcement breaking the law under the guise of enforcing the law,”
– and this is ok?

” if this ranch had guns”
– like branch davidian?

“would you make the same we are becoming Germany remarks”
– When did I make any such remark?

So, you agree this does not look good but defend it – weird.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Stupid question:

“- and you would know this how?”

giggle… are you saying otherwise? You have the burden of proof in this case backwards. If the intention was to mass murder them… I think we would be having a very different conversation. Or lets just say at the very least… they are hiding the intent to mass murder people pretty well considering.

“- and this is ok?”

ah yes… the good ole advance a false premise that the person you are arguing with never advanced.

Of course it is not OKAY… you knob!

“- like branch davidian?”

okay… that is a complete non sequitur. There was a warrant involved in that raid right?

“- When did I make any such remark?”

Do you know the difference between a statement and a question? I was asking a question… giggle

“So, you agree this does not look good but defend it – weird.”

ah… now here is something we can work with. Yes, I will stand up and defend peoples rights even if I do not like the person they might defend. Why? Well I would tell you but you are too fucking stupid to know any better. You can’t even tell the different between a statement or a question and there is little chance you are capable of understanding anything other than how to shit in your diaper. I am hopeful that you have the potential to improve since you at least found some way to post your message as fucking retarded and ignorant as it was.

You either stand up for all rights, or you stand up for zero rights. Hope ICE raids your ass and deports you to fucking pluto!

Anonymous Coward says:

as with ALL USA law enforcement, they know exactly what they need to comply with the law at AL TIMES but choose to ignore it! they think they are above the law and the way the constitution has been constantly ignored and erroded, i’m actually surprised that it hasn’t been thrown out completely. let’s face it, it holds nowhere near the water it did or should still, mainly because the Justice dept, DoJ, TSA, ICE and others are throwing it under the bus, just to be able to do what they have been told to do by those in even higher places, and that includes totally illegal actions such as this one!!

Anonymous Hero says:

Wait a minute...

Even if ICE doesn’t need a warrant (which doesn’t seem to be the case), the wife was the person who allegedly missed appointments, not the husband who was arrested (or detained, or rendered, or whatever it is that ICE does to people).

What is the plan? Hold him for ransom until the wife turns herself in? I’d like to see the statute that allows you to arrest relatives of a suspect and hold them for ransom until the actual suspect turns him/herself in.

cal says:

Re: warrant

… a judicial arrest warrant would still be “legally” required here, no matter who ICE was after.

Of course, LEO’s are generally well above the law and there will be no personal consequences for the ICE thugs involved here. But keep faithfully going to the voting booths every Novemeber — your voting really really controls the government and makes them do right(?)

PaulT (profile) says:

“The agency said that its actions were justified because de Leon-Aguilar’s wife Virginia… had missed a number of appointments.

“the resident was deemed to be out of compliance with the terms of the program, necessitating a home visit”

OK…. So, why does “home visit” mean trespassing on someone’s property to kidnap their spouse? Wouldn’t “home visit” mean “we need to come inside and ask a few questions”?

“which does not require a judicial warrant”

Common courtesy might also not be a legal requirement, but it sure would help make everyone’s lives easier.

“At least seven officers had come onto the small farm, Collins said.”

Why does a “home visit” for what’s essentially a paperwork issue need 7 people?

Another day, another US police force apparently being too eager to go overboard whenever they have half the chance to show when “big men” they are. The only surprise is that they didn’t decide to go in shooting once challenged.

Anonymous Coward says:

bull fucking shit!!!

“This resulted in immediate backlash from prominent New York government officials.”

Nothing but mouth running, until the officers and agencies involved start getting arrested for breaking the fucking law all this “backlash” is nothing more than public opinion buying.

It’s not going to stop, they are just going to keep fucking going until we are used to it enough to stop bitching about it. As usual!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There is NO place in existence that is exempt from the Constitution when the US Government is dealing with a US Citizen or their property.

Also, treason has a very specific “constitutionally codified” definition and this does not quality for that. If you are going to go hardball how about you get some actual facts straight first?

If you can’t get it right, how do you expect them to get it right?

YaToG says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Considering their “oaths” of “office” which include devotion to and defense of “the constitution”, I would say game on then.

Treason certainly does apply considering the “HARM” to the “PUBLIC” caused by their unconstitutional actions.
Those are certifiably treasonous actions.

YaToG says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yeah, since Wikipedia is a treasure-trove of false-statements, lies and damned-lies.

Sorry. I’ll stick to Merriam-Webster’s definition which states that treason is anything that causes significant harm to the country and/or its people.

ICE is causing significant damage to its people.

’nuff Said.

OH, it also makes ICE a bunch of flaming terrorists to boot, which is why they belong in Gitmo, without the ability to ever be paroled or released, waterboarded 23.99 hours a day.

BobsOMG says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You do realize that Webster’s Dictionary is not a legal document, right?

People tend to get pedantic about the word “treason”, as it relates to Trump, because it doesn’t actually mean anything in the legal sense. There isn’t currently anything indicating that Trump would be guilty of anything that would include the word “treason”.

Is he guilty of other crimes, like obstruction of justice, campaign finance violations, and any number of possible election fraud statutes? It seems to be quite possible, even likely, that he is. We just have to wait for the investigation to get to that point, and it may be a while yet.

Agammamon says:

Re: Re: Re:

“In United States criminal law, the border search exception or doctrine is a doctrine that allows searches and seizures at international borders and their functional equivalent without a warrant or probable cause.[1] The doctrine is not regarded as an exception to the Fourth Amendment, but rather to its requirement for a warrant or probable cause.

Federal law allows certain federal agents to conduct search and seizures within 100 miles of the border into the interior of the United States. The Supreme Court has clearly and repeatedly confirmed that the border search exception applies within 100 miles of the border of the United States as seen in cases such as United States v. Martinez-Fuerte . . .”

In any case – this is certainly a rights violation, but its not a constitutional violation. Our rights do not come from the constitution.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I hear ya. But is there anything, anywhere that says the Supreme Court cannot be wrong? The Constitution says a warrant is required, it says nothing about exceptions, at least so far as the 4th Amendment is concerned. So my reading is that it is in fact a Constitutional violation, and the Supreme Court got it wrong.

Now, what we might do about that is yet another discussion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“So my reading is that it is in fact a Constitutional violation, and the Supreme Court got it wrong.”

You are correct, but we have long since stopped using comment sense.

The founders were short sighted and never thought that people would intentionally abuse the meaning of the word written to justify anything.

Then again… the founders were only writing a Constitution for an agreement between the “Central Federal Government” and the “States”. The Constitution did not get applied to “State” and “Citizens” until after the 14th.

A lot of people have a whole fucking lot of things wrong and the problem is that no one is going to make the efforts to correct what all went wrong with he 14th. Because as long as there is no “exception” given in the 4th… based on pure technical detail… a cop cannot arrest someone shooting someone else without a warrant, but we don’t stop that for political expediency. The word “reasonable” has been entirely abused and used to mean something it does not mean now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Considering this was the agency that for some reason has turned into yet another intellectual property enforcement arm for the seizing of CDs and T-shirts, is it any surprise that their first reflex is to ignore protocol based on mere allegations?

They learned it from their copyright paymasters…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Haven’t you heard? Copyright and intellectual property law is everywhere. If it didn’t exist, supermarkets would crumble overnight because people would magically not be able to purchase food.

Maybe you shouldn’t have your all-encompassing reach cover so damn much if you’re not going to take responsibility for your actions, jackass.

Anonymous Coward says:

IF goes to court, you'll believe the "Unbelievable", Techdirt.

Did you at all read what quoted — and know underlying law?

Agents were within their rights to be on the farm and did not need a warrant, ICE spokesperson Khaalid Walls told [Vice Media’s Eoin Higgins] in an email. The agency said that its actions were justified because de Leon-Aguilar’s wife Virginia, who is enrolled in the Alternatives to Detention program, which allows her to stay out of immigration detention while she goes through immigration court proceedings, had missed a number of appointments.

"After having missed several scheduled reporting dates," said Walls, "the resident was deemed to be out of compliance with the terms of the program, necessitating a home visit, which does not require a judicial warrant."

The agreement (and gov’t prerogatives) DOES supersede any "rights" held by an immigrant. You’re trying usual tactic of obscuring with irrelevant details, when in practical fact whatever "private property" where "Aguilar’s children watched" from is close enough to a "home".

NOTE ALSO THAT "farmer" (exploiter) complaining may well be guilty of some crime, at least of knowingly hiring an immigrant (and sheltering entire family!) rather than an American.

YaToG says:

Re: IF goes to court, you'll believe the "Unbelievable", Techdirt.

Did YOU read the article idiot?

It was “SOMEONE ELSE’S” property.

ICE has NO standing and should probably have been arrested on site for trespassing at the minimum.

Self-defense would certainly be applicable considering the “malice” portrayed by the criminal organization known as ICE.

Those members of ICE are the ones that need to be deported, preferably to gitmo with the other terrorists.

The Wanderer (profile) says:


Say we concede that this agreement supersedes the rights of the immigrant in question.

How does that agreement in any way suspend the rights of the landlord, who is not an immigrant, and on whose property the immigrant lives?

Sure, under that concession, the immigrant can’t bar the government from coming into the house to conduct a visit.

But the government can’t get to the house without crossing the landlord’s property; the landlord is not a party to the agreement, is not an immigrant, and had not granted the government permission to enter or cross his property.

If the government wants to enter the landlord’s property in order to reach the house where the immigrant lives, the government needs either the landlord’s permission (which for all we know they might have gotten, if they’d been upfront about it and asked) or a warrant.

(…also, since when is “hiring an immigrant rather than an American” a crime? Even Trump does it, for his resorts…)

rebrad (profile) says:

Thanks ICE

Thanks ICE for doing your jobs. It’s time to remove every illegal alien wherever they are hiding. Please insure that you arrest and charge the farmer for illegally harboring known illegals and they’re children. Please expel them with all speed. Again, keep up the good work despite the dangerous conditions you have to work under. We are proud of you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Thanks ICE

uh…. did you read the article? ICE did NOT do their jobs. They broke the law instead.

I want illegals removed as well, but breaking the law to do it is bullshit! You are part of the problem if you are okay with this, then you have no fucking standing to bitch when your guns are taken!

Then only thing you just said in translation is!

“Yay, I love it when the police state acts like this! Yay for the Police State!”

Fuck you, you are everything wrong with America right now!

YaToG says:

Re: Re: Thanks ICE

so, you want ICE to go back in time and kill Columbus and all the other “explorers” right? Native Americans are the only “legal” residents of this country.

We’re the illegal immigrant descendants. If we’re going to deport children of illegal immigrants, born in the US, then by god, we should all be deported.

Pull your heads out of your collective asses.

If they want to stay and work, let them, but make them pay taxes and social security and hit on the companies that try to pay under the table.

Give them a cut of the penalties for turning in their employers, we’ll have more money coming in to help pay taxes and other costs. Win-Win-Win.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

No, this comparison is definitely apt, I would just say that we are long past the beginning. We had similar beginnings right when we started the war. America rounded up a Lot of Japanese during WWII. The 100 mile constitution free zone in America, and “I Feared for my life” being a valid excuse for Police to shoot unarmed people.

We are at the mid point in my opinion, we just have not reached the acceptance of murdering people by group/ethnicity…. yet!

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

ICE has been groomed as Trump's Schutzstaffel.

Trump and Sessions have given ICE a lot of carte blanche permission to do whatever they want to do to fill their internment camps with warm bodies.

The waiting list for immigration court (by the DoJ, not the US court system) is huge and takes years to get to the top, and that’s even if for US citizens that have been detained under false pretenses. ICE just simply doesn’t provide suspects resources to prove citizenship or legitimate cause to be in the States, hence they’re forced to suffer ICE jail (again, huge detention camps) for years.

Given that the administrators have sworn loyalty to Trump and not the United States, ICE is already Trump’s private army. He’s just not yet used them outside their current mission to round up alleged immigrants at all costs.

So it is absolutely no surprise that they haven’t bothered with legitimizing paperwork for their raid. They don’t have to meddle with it for most of their work, and still have the blessings of the White House and DoJ.

Anonymous Coward says:

might the "game warden exception" apply to immigration officers?

It’s perhaps been somewhat of a “rural legend” among hunters that the 4th Amendment simply does not apply to game wardens in their eternal search for contraband, whether in cars, cabins, or any other personal and private property. Historically, search warrants have been virtually unknown in these rural backwoods, and the usual big-city civil rights organizations have never taken much interest in the Constitutional rights of far-away hillbillies and rednecks who’ve historically been even more unaware of their own legal rights than the big-city ghetto dwellers that these NGOs have long crusaded for.

But even when challenged, courts have granted game wardens the power to conduct warrantless searches that are above and beyond the powers that those same courts have allowed for ordinary cops. While some people might argue that game wardens play such an important role protecting wildlife, as well as operating in a highly regulated environment, that this should allow “normal” police use-of-force rules to be bent in their favor. But if game wardens are allowed to breach the 4th Amendment (and the US Supreme Court has no problem with this) then doesn’t that open the door for other specialized enforcement agencies (including ICE) to likewise be granted a free pass on the 4th?

Rekrul says:

I know I’m late commenting on this, but I was sidelined by a medical issue for the last week.


I think it’s time we all realized that there are no longer any meaningful constraints on what “law enforcement” can do. The bill of rights no longer matters. Cops and federal agents do whatever the hell they want and nobody can stop them. Even if a court rules that they broke the law, they just ignore this ruling and continue to break the law. If they get sued and lose, the taxpayers foot the bill and they go right on breaking the law. Even resisting the illegal actions of law enforcement has become a crime.

Let’s face it, we have a defacto police state and any “rights” you think you have will be decided by a court after you’ve been beaten, arrested, detained, and have your life ruined.

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