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Behind ICE's wrongful arrests of U.S. citizens

Two police officers walk through a neighborhood
ICE officers walk through Brooklyn. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

"Immigration officers in the United States operate under a cardinal rule: Keep your hands off Americans. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents repeatedly target U.S. citizens for deportation by mistake," the L.A. Times' Paige St. John and Joel Rubin report.

Why it matters: "[T]he detentions of U.S. citizens amount to an unsettling type of collateral damage in the government’s effort to remove undocumented" immigrants.

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement is "making wrongful arrests based on incomplete government records, bad data and lax investigations, according to a Times review of federal lawsuits, internal ICE documents and interviews."
  • "Since 2012, ICE has released from its custody more than 1,480 people after investigating their citizenship claims, according to agency figures."
  • "And a Times review of Department of Justice records and interviews with immigration attorneys uncovered hundreds of additional cases in the country’s immigration courts in which people were forced to prove they are Americans and sometimes spent months or even years in detention."
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