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Yale law students delay ICE deportation

Saturday, December 04, 2010
Time: 7:58 AM

The Danbury 11 case isn't the only civil rights case filed against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Connecticut.
Here's the latest in the case involving the actions of ICE during a raid in Fair Haven.
Three days before a government-ordered flight back to his native Ecuador, Washington Colala was granted a week’s reprieve by a federal court judge.

Colala (at right in photo) had been ordered to board a 7 p.m. flight to Ecuador on Monday. He would have been taking some powerful testimony with him. His lawyers say that’s why the government seeks to have him deported.

Colala (at right in photo) is one of 32 Latino immigrants who were swept up in immigration raids in Fair Haven in 2007. Now, three years later, he’s part of a federal civil rights lawsuit, which argues that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents violated his constitutional rights when they came into his apartment on the morning of the raids.

In the midst of that case, ICE has moved aggressively to deport him. Just before Thanksgiving, he was given a deadline to leave the country: Monday, Dec. 6.

Colala has bought a ticket and was ready to fly from JFK to his native Ecuador on Monday night. Meanwhile, law students at Yale were scrambling to find a last-minute exception to keep him in the country.

On Friday afternoon, their efforts paid off. Judge Stefan Underhill, the federal court judge overseeing the civil rights suit, entered an order staying Colala’s deportation for a week. He did so to give Colala’s lawyers time to argue that he should be allowed to remain in the country and testify in the case, said Mark Pedulla (at left in photo), a student attorney on the case.


After the 2007 raids, Yale students worked with about half of the arrested immigrants to appeal their deportation orders, but not Colala. They argued that the ICE raids had been conducted illegally and were able to overturn the deportation orders for several of their clients, including Colala’s housemate.

They did that with the help of testimony from Colala.

Colala, who’s 44, said ICE agents came into his apartment illegally in June of 2007 and arrested him without identifying themselves. His lawyers said his testimony about that incident was instrumental in a successful overturning of a deportation order against Colala’s roommate’s, by showing that the agents violated the 4th, 5th, and 10th Amendments.

“Immigration officers entered my house without consent ... based on lies ... and they arrested me,” Colala said about the raid on his apartment in 2007.

The agents had their guns out, he said. “They made me open the door. ... I didn’t resist at any moment.”

It wasn’t until a half-hour later, after he had been in handcuffs for some time, that ICE agents identified themselves, he said.

“It was quite humiliating,” Colala said.

After the raids, Colala (at right in above photo) did not join the group of arrested immigrants working with Yale law school. He appealed his deportation with a different attorney, used a different argument, and failed to overturn his deportation order. That means he can now be forced to leave the country, even as he’s part of another case stemming from the raids, the civil rights lawsuit that began in October 2009.

Colala would likely share that same potentially incriminating testimony he did before when the pending civil rights case comes to trial, but from his home in province of Pastaza, he would have been unable to participate in the civil rights trial. Despite several appeals and intervention attempts by his lawyers, Colala was being forced to leave the country on Monday.


Scholtz (pictured) called it “puzzling” that ICE is trying to deport Colala so “expeditiously.” “It certainly gives the impression that ICE is trying to avoid liability for its conduct in the raids.”

The fact that Colala’s testimony resulted in the overturning of his housemate’s deportation order shows that his claims are credible, Pedulla said.

This is yet another victory by the law students at Yale...students who are also working hard to prove their case in the Danbury 11 matter.

posted by ctblogger at 7:58 AM | Permalink|


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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.



Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

(02.25.08) Court docket

(10.24.07) Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Emergency Motion for Protective Order

(09.26.07) Press Release

(12.14.06) Complaint

Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436
(D. Conn. filed Sept. 26, 2007)

(02.25.08) Court Docket

Amended complaint

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss State Law Claims

Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Defendants' Answer to Amended Complaint

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Immigrant's 2006 arrest was flawed Danbury mayor testifies

(10.05.07 (VIDEO) Boughton mislead the public about Danbury's involvement in raid

(09.18.07) Yale Law Students expose Danbury involvement in raid

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Interview with Yale Law Students at FOI presser

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 FOI complaint media roundup

City Clerk Jean Natale standing next to skinhead sparks outrage

(10.03.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 rally

(09.29.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 case deepens

Word of raid spread across the country

(09/29/06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 protest news conference

(09/29/06) Immigrant newspaper "El Canillita" gives best account of ICE day labor raid at Kennedy Park

trans_button Santos Family Story
VIDEO: Tereza Pereira's ordeal with ICE agents

VIDEO: Danbury Peace Coalition Immigration Forum (April 2006)
featuring Mayor Boughton and Immigration attorney Philip Berns

VIDEO: 2007 Stop the Raids immigration forum at WCSU

2007: Community protest anti-immigration forum

A tribute to Hispanic Center Director and immigrant activist Maria Cinta Lowe

Lowest Gas Prices in Danbury
Danbury Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com

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