June 26, 2008, - 11:25 am
Absurd Lawsuits of the Year: U.S. Citizens Sue Govt Over Children Seeing ICE Arrests, Other Stupid Stuff
By Debbie Schlussel
This is WAAAAAY more annoying than the woman who sued Victoria’s Secret over hitting herself in the eye with thong underwear.
Several U.S. citizens are suing the government over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, in lawsuits that go far beyond absurd.
One woman, Denise Shippy, is suing because ICE Agents arrested illegal aliens in front of her young kids whom she brought to work and she thinks the government should pay for her kids seeing the handcuffs and her having to explain to them that these people were here illegally and broke the law.
Um, do her kids know about criminals and bad people? Do they know that there are police in this country who arrest them? Better not break the traumatic news to them. Wow, how unprepared these kiddies of hers will be as adults. If only my parents knew of this new type of litigation. They could have sued Channel 7 News for reporting on the “Oakland County Killer,” who kidnapped, molested, and killed children. We could have made a mint.
Then there’s Nitin Dhopade, Chief Financial Officer of Micro Solutions Enterprises. Being in charge of saving money and managing finances for his company, he was probably well aware of the 138 illegal aliens his small company employed and which ICE arrested. But rather than thank his lucky stars that ICE and the U.S. government have no cojones to go after him and his company, he’s suing America for detaining him for AN HOUR! What’s worse, agents told him he couldn’t use his cellphones. So sad, too bad.
So, he’s suing. Absurd. The fact is that members of law enforcement have the right to arrest, detain, and even jail material witnesses. In this case, that didn’t happen. He was just sent to a room for an hour so that ICE agents could conduct their raid and arrest illegal aliens in an orderly manner. This is standard ICE procedure. They don’t want angry employers in the way, and they don’t want them tipping off other illegal alien employees not to come to work because there’s a raid in progress.
114 U.S. citizens have filed these frivolous lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security over such brief ICE detentions and “trauma.”
If suits like this are victorious, perhaps ICE should just disband (which wouldn’t be such a bad idea, anyway). More about these people “scarred for life” because law enforcement did their job:
Nitin Dhopade, the chief financial officer for Micro Solutions Enterprises, was headed toward the accounting department on the afternoon of Feb. 7 to deliver checks he had just signed. Suddenly, he says, he encountered armed men and women wearing bulletproof vests and uniforms branded with “ICE,” which stands for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Dhopade, 47, says he and 30 other administrative workers for the Van Nuys, Calif., company, which recycles used toner and ink cartridges, were marched down a stairwell lined by officers. The workers were ordered against a wall and told not to touch anything or use their cellphones. “There was no way you could leave. You were definitely detained,” he says. “None of us were in handcuffs, but there was no way you could say ‘I’m leaving.’”
That marked the beginning of a surprise raid that would result in the arrests of 138 suspected illegal immigrants, about one-fifth of MSE’s workforce. Also swept up in the same raid were more than 100 U.S. citizens and legal residents, including Dhopade, a naturalized U.S. citizen from India. They say they were illegally detained at the factory for an hour when ICE agents blocked the doors and interrogated them, forbidding them to leave or go to the bathroom without an escort.
Whether their brief detention was a mere inconvenience or a flagrant violation of their constitutional rights is the subject of a growing debate that seems likely to be resolved in federal court. . . . Increasingly, U.S. citizens and legal residents who work alongside illegal immigrants are being detained and interrogated, too. And some, such as Dhopade, are filing claims or lawsuits against the government.
Dhopade says he was a victim of racial profiling by ICE. An ICE agent questioned him about his immigration status and his ability to speak English “because of my skin color,” he says. “None of the white folks in the office ‚Ä¶ that I know of were asked for proof of citizenship. To be asked for proof of citizenship, in this country, it’s an insult. This is the United States of America. This country does not require that.”
Um, actually, it does require that, if a member of law enforcement asks you to produce it–especially a member of ICE.
In April, the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law, a public interest law firm here, filed claims for damages on behalf of 114 MSE employees, all citizens or legal permanent residents, also called green-card holders. The claims allege that they were subjected to “false imprisonment” and “detention without justification” and seek $5,000 each in damages from the federal government.
The lawsuits and claims against the government are part of a strategy by immigration lawyers to halt or change workplace raids. Peter Schey, president and executive director of the center, acknowledges that “we’re hoping the prospect of thousands of U.S. citizens over time filing claims for damages against the United States government might cause (ICE) to reconsider how these raids are conducted.” . . .
Denise Shippy, nine months pregnant the day of the MSE raid, says it was more than an inconvenience.
She had planned to take off that afternoon for parent-teacher conferences and a doctor’s appointment. But Shippy, 30, needed to train a receptionist to fill in for her while she was on maternity leave, so she took her two children to the office with her. The raid occurred as she settled Cassidy, 7, and Ricky, 9, into the mailroom for lunch.
As she left the mailroom, Shippy found the lobby filled with ICE agents, and she, the children and co-workers were herded in there. When Shippy tried to respond to an e-mail, she says, one ICE agent said, “Stop typing.”
“My rights were violated,” Shippy says. “I am a citizen of this United States. I was born here. I’m not who they’re looking for. I wasn’t allowed to leave. . . . I couldn’t go anywhere and couldn’t do anything. Neither could my children.”
Although she was upset, she tried to calm her kids, she says. She needed to use the restroom, but held off because she didn’t want an agent to accompany her.
“I didn’t want to scare the heck out of my kids,” she says. “I was trying to be cool and calm for my children. My heart was racing.”
At one point, agents started escorting handcuffed workers – suspected illegal immigrants – from the factory floor out the front door. Her children asked why the workers were handcuffed, what they had done wrong and what would happen to them, she says.
“That was when I started getting angry,” she says. “My kids should not have had to watch these things. They saw people being led out in handcuffs. These are people who are recognizable to my children.”
Shippy, who gave birth to a boy on Feb. 19, returned to work June 9 and says she still feels justified in filing a claim.
“I’m not some money-hungry person,” she says. “This is something I’m pretty passionate about. It shouldn’t have happened the way it did.”
PUH-LEEZE. If the people recognizable to her kids are the ones being handcuffed, that means this woman knew her company employed illegal aliens and did nothing about it. That’s the lesson she should be worried that he kids are observing.
Another conundrum: ICE agents are damned because they allegedly didn’t ask the White people for their proof of citizenship and detained the Indian guy. Yet, on the other hand, ICE agents are damned because they, in fact, did detain a White chick.
Hmmm . . . same lawyer, same lawsuit against ICE. Looks like these immigration and “civil liberties” lawyers need to get their stories and arguments straight. Or do they?
As they noted, the whole reason they’re filing this frivolous lawsuit is to stop ICE raids. The lawyers should be sanctioned and their resource-wasting, court-clogging lawsuit thrown out.