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LAC Issues New Practice Advisory on Motions to Suppress Evidence Unlawfully Obtained by CBP

Released on Wed, Nov 13, 2013

The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) has just released a new practice advisory, Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings: Fighting Back Against Unlawful Conduct by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Since 9/11, Congressional appropriations for border security have skyrocketed.  This influx of resources to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has corresponded with increased reports of pretextual arrests, racial profiling, excessive use of force, and coercive tactics to aid immigration enforcement along both borders.  Although these enforcement practices often violate the constitutional, statutory or regulatory framework governing the conduct of CBP officers, they are rarely challenged in immigration court. 

The LAC’s new practice advisory discusses some of the factual scenarios that may give rise to successful motions to suppress evidence obtained unlawfully by CBP officers, including CBP inspectors stationed at ports of entry and Border Patrol agents, who operate between ports of entry.  It also addresses some of the legal issues specific to motions to suppress evidence obtained at and near the border.  If successful, a motion to suppress can prevent the government from using unlawfully obtained evidence to prove alienage, which may result in the termination of removal proceedings. 

This practice advisory supplements a prior LAC practice advisory, Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings:  A General Overview, which has been updated to address certain strategic considerations concerning motions to suppress, including the advisability and timing of filing a concurrent request for prosecutorial discretion or a lawsuit for damages.  A related LAC practice advisory, Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings: Cracking Down on Fourth Amendment Violations by State and Local Law Enforcement Officers, focuses primarily on Fourth Amendment limitations on state and local immigration enforcement efforts.

For a complete list of all LAC Practice Advisories, please visit our website.

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For more information, please contact clearinghouse@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7516.

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