The case is done and won! May 3, 2022

The judge approved a settlement that permanently enjoins Nobles County and its Sheriff’s Department from detaining individuals for ICE without state law authority. The ruling includes a financial settlement for the four plaintiffs.

Case Update: Jan. 30, 2020

BREAKING NEWS - We just won our case against Nobles County and its Sheriff! Today's decision included a permanent injunction, which means the Nobles County Sheriff is barred permanently from holding people for ICE without proper authorization.

Case Background

The lawsuit alleges that Sheriff Kent Wilkening and Nobles County are violating Minnesota law by refusing to release people from custody when they attempt to post bond or should otherwise be released. Instead of releasing individuals, however, Sheriff Wilkening is re-arresting people and detaining them on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement without the authority to do so.

Previous Updates:

Case Update: Sep. 23, 2019

Another victory: The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld our temporary restraining order! That means Nobles County and its Sheriff cannot unlawfully detain people for ICE. The Appeals Court came down in favor of our argument that state law doesn't authorize law enforcement to seize immigrants for ICE.

Case Update: Jan. 31, 2019

BREAKING NEWS - A judge today approved class-action status for our lawsuit against Nobles County and its Sheriff, who have been detaining people for ICE without the legal authority to do so.

Case Update: Nov. 29, 2018

Another victory (for now)! A judge rebuffed a motion on Nov. 29 by Nobles County and Sheriff Wilkening to stay the temporary restraining order that requires Wilkening to release people from jail when they are eligible under state law and the Minnesota and U.S. Constitutions, instead of holding them for ICE. The ruling reinforces the rights of immigrants who the Sheriff had unlawfully detained. The ruling means the class-action lawsuit will continue to move ahead.

Case Update: Oct. 19, 2018

Victory (for now)! Judge Gregory Anderson issued a temporary restraining order and injunction against the Nobles County Sheriff in a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota on behalf of four named individuals. The restraining order is only temporary; the case will be decided after a trial in spring 2019. 



Ian Bratlie and Teresa Nelson from ACLU of Minnesota and Norm Pentelovitch of Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie P.A.

Date filed

September 21, 2018


District Court


Gregory J. Anderson



Case number