“Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents implemented a preconceived plan to ‘target’ over 200 factory workers for detention and for interrogation as to their immigration status. The plan turned on obtaining and executing a search warrant for employment records at the factory. The record before us establishes that the search warrant for documents was executed “in order to” arrest undocumented workers present at the factory. Our central question is whether the ICE agents were permitted to carry out preplanned mass detentions, interrogations, and arrests at the factory, without individualized reasonable suspicion. We hold that they were not.”
“The government does not dispute that Perez Cruz was seized for purposes of the Fourth Amendment when he was detained in his workplace, frisked, and handcuffed, or that the ICE agents did so without individualized reasonable suspicion. Rightly so. The record confirms that the agents detained Perez Cruz and his coworkers at the outset of the raid, blocking all exits and prohibiting them from leaving. That ICE suspected MSE was employing undocumented workers did not provide reasonable suspicion that Perez Cruz himself was undocumented.” “The government maintains that, despite this bedrock principle, Michigan v. Summers permitted the agents to detain Perez Cruz without suspicion on their arrival at the MSE factory to execute the search warrant they had in hand.”
“The authority provided by Summers for detention during the execution of a valid search warrant applies in the absence of probable cause or reasonable suspicion as to the detained individuals’ culpability, and so is analogous to the probable cause exceptions for which valid purpose is a prerequisite.” “Perez Cruz has presented substantial, uncontroverted evidence that the search authorized by the warrant was far from the ICE agents’ central concern. Instead, the agents’ principal goal was to detain, interrogate, and arrest a large number of individuals who worked at the MSE factory, hoping to initiate removal proceedings against them.” “Where ‘a safe and efficient search’ is not the primary purpose of the officers’ actions, Summers’s justification for bypassing the Fourth Amendment’s traditional protections disappears, just as the justifications for doing so disappear—and so bypass of the usual Fourth Amendment requisites becomes impermissible—in inventory and administrative search cases.”
The court concluded that Perez Cruz was entitled to suppression of his statements about alienage and the related documents obtained by ICE demonstrating his foreign birth.
The full text of Perez Cruz v. Barr can be found here: