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LADUKE v. NELSON

December 23, 1982

Charles LaDUKE, Carlos Garcia, and Consulo Garcia, individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Alan C. NELSON, in his official capacity as the National Commissioner of the INS, Gordon A. Ruth, in his official capacity as the Director of the INS for the Northern Region, James B. Turnage, in his official capacity as District Director for the INS for the State of Washington, William T. Carty, in his official capacity as Officer in Charge of the Spokane Substation of the INS, John Green, in his official capacity, Kenneth Langford, in his official capacity as Chief Border Patrol Agent for the Spokane Substation, Dale K. Sewell, Johnny L. Minyard, Leslie Anderson, John Doe Three, and John Doe Four, individually, and in their capacities as employees, agents and persons acting in concert with the INS, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCNICHOLS

 ROBERT J. McNICHOLS, Chief Judge.

 The issue of this class action is the constitutionality of searches and interrogations conducted by Border Patrol Agents and criminal investigators of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in farm labor housing areas located within the Spokane Sector. Plaintiffs, on behalf of their class, contend that the practices of the INS agents violate the Fourth Amendment rights of residents of farm labor housing to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief to prohibit INS from using enforcement practices which do not comply with the requirement of the Fourth Amendment. The defendants resist injunctive relief on alternative grounds. First, defendants contend that the agents' practices do not violate the constitutional rights of residents of farm labor housing, and second, that there is no evidence that agents are likely to commit constitutional violations in the future. I denied a preliminary injunction on October 13, 1981. A trial to the court was held in June, 1982. Plaintiffs and defendants submitted post-trial memoranda and proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

 FACTS

 The named plaintiffs, Charles LaDuke and Carlos and Consulo Garcia, are United States citizens who have resided in farm labor housing within the Spokane Sector. The class they represent is composed of:

 
All persons who, since August 1, 1974, have resided, reside, or will reside in farm labor housing located within the formal jurisdiction of, or actual territory patrolled by criminal investigators or border patrol agents who are directed from the offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Spokane, WA; provided that for the purposes of this class definition "farm labor housing" shall include any dwelling unit used or intended to be used as living or sleeping quarters for farm laborers, whether it be located on a single parcel of land or on a common parcel of land with other units; whether it be composed of dormitories, cabins, apartments, trailers, tents, makeshift units, motel or hotel rooms, boarding houses, single family dwellings, or multifamily dwellings; whether it be located on or off a place of agricultural employment; whether it be located within or outside a city or town; whether it be provided by an agricultural employer or other entity; and whether it be publicly or privately owned.

 The defendants include the following administrative and supervisory personnel:

 
Alan C. Nelson, Commissioner of the INS
 
Gordon A. Ruth, Director of the INS for the Northern Region
 
James B. Turnage, Jr., District Director of the INS for the State of Washington
 
William Carty, Officer in Charge of the Spokane Suboffice
 
Kenneth Langford, Chief Border Patrol Agent for the Spokane Sector
 
John Greene, Chief Border Patrol Agent for the Spokane Sector until 1980.
 
The following Border Patrol Agents are named as defendants: Johnny L. Minyard, Dale K. Sewell, Leslie Anderson, John Doe Three and John Doe Four.

 The Spokane Sector is comprised of the Eastern District of Washington, a portion of Northern Idaho, and a portion of Western Montana. In the Eastern District of Washington, Border Patrol officers operate out of stations in Spokane and Oroville, under the supervision of Agents Anderson and Minyard, respectively.

 Searches and Interrogations in Farm Labor Housing

 Substantial portions of the agricultural lands of Central and Southeastern Washington are devoted to various crops which require extensive hand labor in the fields. Because of the needs of the growers for field workers during various stages of the growing season, the areas are particularly attractive to itinerant workers, many of which are citizens of Mexico. Some of the workers are legally in the United States and some illegally. Quarters of one type or another are provided for these itinerant workers, usually in proximity to the orchards and fields where the work is performed. The workers and their families occupy these quarters for various periods of time during several stages of the growing season. They have sleeping and cooking facilities and make the quarters their temporary home. The housing units are occupied by citizens, legal aliens and illegal aliens.

 During the years 1974 through 1979 INS Border Patrol Agents and criminal investigators have regularly conducted surprise searches or raids in these farm labor housing areas. The evidence reflects that through the years these activities generally followed a standard pattern:

 
1. The searches were conducted primarily during hours of darkness or daybreak when workers could normally be found in their living quarters.
 
2. Most, if not all of the officers, were uniformed, wore badges and carried exposed pistols, handcuffs and flashlights.
 
3. The officers approached the housing areas in government-marked vehicles, including van type vehicles suitable for detention of those to be arrested.
 
4. If possible, the officers sealed off roads or paths leading out of the housing area. Officers were also stationed at the rear of the housing units ...

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