Las Vegas Resident Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging Local Law Enforcement for Violating His Constitutional Rights Through Collaboration Efforts with ICE

February 6, 2020

Juan Gastelum, NILC, [email protected], 213-375-3149
Howard Mintz, Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe LLP, [email protected], 650-614-7314

Las Vegas Resident Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging Local Law Enforcement for Violating His Constitutional Rights Through Collaboration Efforts with ICE

LAS VEGAS, NV — David Adame-Reyes, a longtime Las Vegas resident, who was subject to an unlawful arrest and wrongful detention after being ordered released by a judge, sued Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) today for their practice of jailing community members for the sole purpose of transferring them into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody when the law requires that they instead be released. Adame-Reyes is represented by the National Immigration Law Center, the law firm Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe LLP, and the law firm Holland & Hart LLP.

The lawsuit challenges the decision of Sheriff Lombardo and the LVMPD to grant detention requests called “ICE holds” or “ICE detainers,” despite federal and Nevada law prohibiting that detention. Sheriff Lombardo reinstituted this practice after his predecessor abandoned it (PDF) when courts found the practice unconstitutional. Even as these court decisions mounted, Sheriff Lombardo refused to abandon the practice until recently. Though Sheriff Lombardo announced a pause in the practice, he also explained that he is seeking alternative ways to use local resources to do the work of federal immigration law enforcement and that he would reinstitute the policy if possible.

“Today’s lawsuit is about accountability,” explained Sarah Kim Pak, a staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. “Sheriff Lombardo has long known of the illegality of jailing community members without meeting the requirements our Constitution demands. He’s made it clear that he will revert to old ways at the drop of a hat. It is past time that Sheriff Lombardo learn that his job is to uphold the law, not break it.”

Nevada law bars local law enforcement officers from making arrests to enforce civil immigration laws. The jailing of Adame-Reyes after he had been ordered released by a judge was an unlawful arrest, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, and deprived him of his liberty without due process, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The harm of having local law enforcement pursue immigration enforcement has been well documented nationwide. “Entangling local police with federal immigration enforcement results in a climate of fear and less safety for all of us because community members in fear of retribution are less willing to speak out about crimes committed against them or their loved ones.” explained Amanda Maya, litigation associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, adding, “We hope this case will push Clark County and other municipalities to move in a direction that fosters inclusivity and safety for all community members, regardless of their citizenship status.”

Stephen Peek, partner at Holland & Hart, LLP, observed, “This effort to hold Sheriff Lombardo and LVMPD accountable also recognizes the lasting harm that can result from these policies. We are committed to lend our legal services to challenge these policies and seek justice for Mr. Adame-Reyes.”

Adame-Reyes expressed a similar sentiment in explaining why he brought the case. “A court said I could be free, and yet I have been detained for almost six months. I am saddened to be away from my family and to have missed sharing the holiday season with them. It is my hope that Clark County and other local law enforcement agencies will cease working with immigration to detain individuals who, like me, should have been allowed to go home to their families.”

The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

The complaint filed today is available at