Civil rights groups filed a petition in federal court Thursday seeking a restraining order against immigration officials who allegedly blocked workers detained in a raid at a Van Nuys manufacturing plant from consulting with their attorneys.
When the workers were interviewed by federal agents, their attorneys were not allowed to be present, according to the petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the National Lawyers Guild and the National Immigration Law Center. The petition says workers were told they did not need attorneys even after they asked for one.
Department of Justice attorneys are reviewing the claim.
“During all ICE enforcement operations, aliens are afforded access to a lawyer after routine processing,” said Virginia Kice, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman. “That standard operating procedure was followed during last week’s enforcement.”
The action comes a week after agents swept through Micro Solutions Enterprises, arresting 130 workers on immigration violations.
When Ana Mariela Guerra was asked about her legal status, she asked to see her attorney but was told it was not necessary, said her lawyer, Nikhil Shah.
“It’s an outrageous violation of the right to counsel,” said ACLU attorney Ahilan Arulanantham. “We’ve had problems with ICE respecting these workers’ right to counsel almost from the moment they were arrested. It’s very disturbing.”
A separate claim filed Wednesday accused the Los Angeles Police Department of violating the civil rights of a woman arrested in connection with the Van Nuys raid.
The claim said LAPD officers unlawfully acted as “deputies” to ICE agents when they arrested Teodosia Galicia Canalez at her home on criminal charges.