Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

NICACIO v. UNITED STATES INS

April 18, 1984

Pete NICACIO, Ramiro Lopez, Arnold Ramirez, Margie Martinez, Julio Martinez, Simon Gaytan, and Marcos Herrera, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, Allen Nelson, individually and in his official capacity as the National Commissioner of the INS; James Turnage, individually, and in his official capacity as District Director of the INS for the State of Washington, William T. Carty, individually and in his official capacity as Officer in charge of the Spokane substation of the INS, Andrew Hattery, individually and in his official capacity as Officer in charge of the Blaine INS office, Kenneth Langford, individually and in his official capacity as Chief Border Patrol Agent for the Spokane sector, Marshall Metzger, individually and in his official capacity as Chief Border Patrol Agent of the Blaine sector, border patrol agents Roy C. Johnson, Wayne T. Myhre, Johnny L. Minyard, Rodney L. Stenslie, Roy Sutton, Warren Goodwin and Does One through Twenty, individually and in their official capacity, All successors in office to the above named defendants, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCNICHOLS

 ROBERT J. McNICHOLS, Chief Judge.

 This case presents yet another challenge to the constitutionality of the methods used by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in its efforts to enforce this nation's immigration laws. Plaintiffs, on behalf of their class, contend that the practices and policies of the Border Patrol Agents and criminal investigators of the INS in conducting motor vehicle stops are violative of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Plaintiffs seek injunctive and declaratory relief to enjoin defendants from unlawfully stopping, detaining, and interrogating members of the plaintiff class, and to declare defendants actions in conducting these stops to be unlawful. In addition, plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages against all defendants other than the defendant INS. In response to plaintiffs' claims, defendants maintain that the practices of the INS and its agents do not violate the constitutional rights of the plaintiff class, and further contend that the individual defendants are immune from liability under Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 102 S. Ct. 2727, 73 L. Ed. 2d 396 (1982).

 Background

 The challenged conduct by the government agents occurred primarily in the central part of the State of Washington. This area is devoted substantially to agricultural activities which, by their nature, require extensive employment of field labor. The labor force is composed mostly of persons of Hispanic appearance and Mexican heritage. The force is a mixture of United States citizens, legal aliens and illegal aliens. *fn1"

 The evidence indicates that there are approximately 25,000 Hispanic people in the Yakima area, the great majority of which are citizens or documented aliens. The number of illegal aliens apparently fluctuates.

 During the periods when the labor requirements are the greatest, substantial numbers of field workers of Hispanic appearance are traveling the roads and highways of central Washington. As one might expect, they are dressed in work clothes and normally drive older and less expensive automobiles.

 The INS in its efforts to discharge its lawful duty engages in various efforts to locate and apprehend illegal aliens. During certain hours of the day these efforts include the stopping of automobiles on the highway and interrogating the occupants. It is the lawfulness of these stops which is at issue here.

 I. FACTS

 The seven individual plaintiffs are United States citizens of Mexican descent, or permanent resident aliens of Mexican origin who reside in the Spokane Sector. *fn2" Plaintiff class has been defined as:

 
All persons of Mexican, Latin, or Hispanic appearance who have been, are, or will be traveling by motor vehicle on the highways of the State of Washington.

 In addition to the defendant INS, the following persons are named as defendants in their individual and official capacities:

 
1. Allen Nelson, National Commissioner of the INS;
 
2. James Turnage, District Director of the INS for the State of Washington;
 
3. William T. Carty, Officer in charge of the Spokane substation of the INS;
 
4. Andrew Hattery, Officer in charge of the Blaine INS office;
 
5. Kenneth Langford, Chief Border Patrol agent for the Spokane Sector;
 
6. Marshall Metzger, Chief Border Patrol agent for the Blaine Sector; and
 
7. Border Patrol Agents Roy C. Johnson, Wayne T. Myhre, Johnny L. Minyard, Rodney L. Stenslie, Roy Sutton, and Warren Goodwin.

 The record reflects that at the time this litigation was initiated, INS agents were regularly conducting roving patrol motor vehicle stops, detentions and interrogations in the Yakima Valley area of the Spokane Sector. Many of the stops were based solely on Hispanic appearance, or the agents' subjective feelings or intuition, or the suspected illegal aliens' innocuous behavior or appearance traits.

 Persons stopped were required in most cases to provide identification or documentation of legal presence in the United States. Defendants keep no record of automobile stops in which no illegal aliens are apprehended.

 II. LEGAL STANDARD OF REVIEW

 The issue before this Court is whether the stops in question comply with Fourth Amendment mandates. The Fourth Amendment provides that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. . . ." The focus in the area of Fourth Amendment law is the "reasonableness" of the governmental intrusion involved. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 654, 99 S. Ct. 1391, 1396, 59 L. Ed. 2d 660 (1979); see also United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543, 96 S. Ct. 3074, 49 L. Ed. 2d 1116 (1976); United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 95 S. Ct. 2574, 45 L. Ed. 2d 607 (1975). The reasonableness of a particular law enforcement practice is judged by considering all the circumstances, and balancing the intrusion on the individual's privacy against the promotion of legitimate government ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.