MINNEAPOLIS - The ACLU-MN recently won a federal appeal for our client Myriam Parada, who was rear-ended while driving her siblings home from a family birthday party and then detained for ICE.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday upheld a lower-court ruling that Anoka County’s policy of contacting ICE about every foreign-born person the county jailed was a “classic example of national-origin discrimination.”
The appellate panel also upheld a jury finding that the county falsely imprisoned Parada. The court let stand both a financial award and attorney fees. Several attorneys joined ACLU-MN on a pro bono basis in suing Anoka County.
“Jails are committing false imprisonment when they unlawfully hold people for ICE and waste taxpayer money,” said ACLU-MN staff attorney Ian Bratlie. “We hope jails get the message that no matter where people are born, officials must respect the U.S. Constitution and individual rights.”
In July 2017, Parada was driving her siblings home from her sister’s 15th birthday party when she was rear-ended. A police officer let the other driver go without even a warning, and instead arrested and jailed Parada. The Anoka County Jail held her for several hours and turned her over to ICE.
The ACLU-MN sued. In August of 2020, a federal district judge found that the jail’s unwritten policy of adding steps to the booking process for anyone born outside the U.S.— regardless of citizenship or immigration status — violated the 14th Amendment right to equal protection. In January 2021, a jury separately found the county liable for false imprisonment. Anoka County appealed and lost.
“I'm really thankful for the ACLU and everyone who put in work and hours of their lives to make this right,” said plaintiff Myriam Parada. “I'm proud we changed this policy so that people in my community won’t be as afraid to encounter police, knowing the law is being upheld. It’s awesome to know that anybody in this country can fight for their rights, no matter their status, where they come from, or who they are. You can see when wrong is being done to people and make things right.”
Attorneys on the case included the late Alain Baudry of Saul Ewing; Amanda Cefalu and Nathan Boone; and Ian Bratlie and Teresa Nelson of the ACLU-MN.
The ACLU-MN is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to defend the civil liberties of all Minnesotans through litigation, lobbying and community engagement. Learn more at www.aclu-mn.org.