Child’s Civil Rights Violated in ICE Raid, ACLU Suit Says

Child’s civil rights were violated during immigration raid, lawsuit says

Tyche Hendricks, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, April 26, 2007

(04-26) 12:39 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — The American Civil Liberties Union and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights filed suit in San Francisco today on behalf of Kebin Reyes, saying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents violated the then-6-year-old’s civil rights when they took him into custody on March 6.

Kebin, who is now 7, was detained along with his Guatemalan-born father, Noe Reyes, 37, during immigration raids in San Rafael that were part of the national campaign “Operation Return to Sender,” which has picked up more than 18,000 people nationwide on immigration violations.

Their attorneys charge the federal government violated Kebin’s rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution — his rights to be secure in his house against unreasonable searches and seizures and his right to liberty.

Noe Reyes was among 65 people arrested in Marin County that week, just five of whom were detained on outstanding immigration warrants. He and his lawyers say agents would not allow him to call relatives and ask them to look after Kebin or take him to school when the father was arrested and instead took the boy into custody for 10 hours.

Kebin was released when an alarmed uncle heard about the arrest and came to find the boy.

Noe Reyes, the boy’s sole parent in the U.S., spent the next six weeks in jail. Kebin has become fearful and withdrawn since his father’s arrest and suffers recurrent nightmares, his father said.

Immigration officials emphasized that Kebin was allowed to stay in a room with his father the whole day, separate from other detainees.

“The father was arrested and there was no one to take care of the boy at home, so they had the boy come with his father,” said ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley. “He went with his dad so he wouldn’t be left home alone. We work with the families to find someone to take care of the child.”

E-mail Tyche Hendricks at thendricks@sfchronicle.com.

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