New Haven Residents Targeted in 2007 Immigration Raid Reach Landmark Settlement with U.S. Government

February 14, 2012

Cleary Gottlieb, together with the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School, represented eleven plaintiffs in a pro bono civil rights action filed in the District Court of Connecticut alleging violations of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments and Federal Tort Claims Act.

Early in the morning of June 6, 2007, approximately 20 U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents, together with other federal, state, and local officers, entered homes without warrants or consent in Fair Haven, a predominantly Latino neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. Agents illegally seized and arrested over 30 residents. The raids occurred just two days after the approval of a new municipal program designed to offer identification cards to all New Haven residents without regard to immigration status. Plaintiffs allege the raids were carried out in retaliation for the city’s identification program and residents were targeted solely on the basis of their Latino appearance.

After defeating several motions to dismiss the lawsuit by the United States and the individual defendants in 2010, the plaintiffs announced on February 14, 2012 an unprecedented settlement of their civil rights lawsuit. The federal government will pay $350,000 and has offered plaintiffs the choice of either immigration relief known as deferred action coupled with work authorization or termination of pending deportation proceedings. The agreement appears to be the largest monetary settlement ever paid by the United States in a suit over residential immigration raids, and the first to include both financial compensation and immigration relief. The immigration relief will enable the plaintiffs to work legally in the United States. The settlement has been the subject of wide coverage by the local and international press, with an interview of one of the plaintiffs airing on CNN En Español.