LIBBY – The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office — and Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe — are facing a lawsuit from the ACLU for holding an immigrant for over three months.
Augustin Ramon was charged with burglary in August, and posted $25,000 on bond, but has not yet been released because of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.
Immigration lawyer Randall Caudle says that immigrants should be let go after bond is posted, just like regular citizens.
“There’s been probably at least 20 cases across the country that have held that ICE detainers in themselves. The 48 hours are unconstitutional, and police departments have been successfully sued for that, so going way beyond that 48 hours, there’s no question that’s unconstitutional,” Caudle told MTN News.
Ramon has been in the Lincoln County Detention Center since early August.
The ICE detainers typically last 48 hours, giving local law enforcement permission to hold the immigrant for that amount of time after being charged with a local crime. The timeframe gives ICE time to take custody of the immigrant.
Caudle says he isn’t sure why police departments sometimes hold immigrants for longer than 48 hours, especially if ICE has not expressed interest in collecting the immigrant.
“Good question. Unless they believe that they have to under the ICE detainer — which they don’t, it is voluntary for police departments — or they’re just anti-immigrant in general. Because it actually causes problems for police departments,” Caudle said.
The ACLU is also arguing in the suit that immigrants should be released after posting bond, according to Montana state law. The ACLU hopes this class-action lawsuit will end the use of ICE detainers in Montana.
We reached out to Lincoln County and they have so far declined to comment.
Reporting by Katie Miller for MTN News