By Tracy McNew
On Thursday, Nov. 1, the ACLU of Montana issued a press release titled, “Class-action lawsuit seeks to stop Lincoln County Sheriff from unlawfully jailing people at ICE’s (Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s) request.”
The press release goes on to explain that a lawsuit has been filed in Lincoln County District Court by the ACLU of Montana, the ACLU, and the Border Crossing Law Firm, against Lincoln County Sheriff, Roby Bowe, for wrongfully jailing Agustin Ramon for more than two months as requested by Federal Immigration Officials.
Ramon was arrested on Aug. 3 and is charged with felony burglary of a residence. He remains in jail, and his bond was set at $25,000, but according to the ACLU, “when Ramon tried to pay his bond to secure his release from jail pending trial, he was informed that because of an ICE detainer, the jail could not release him.”
According to ice.gov, an immigration detainer is a notice from the Department of Homeland Security to law enforcement that DHS intends to assume custody of an inmate after they would otherwise be released.
Ramon is an immigrant and dual citizen of France and Mexico, and although the ICE detainer was requested, it didn’t necessarily have to be honored. “When an immigrant posts bond, they must be released from custody, just like anyone else. Sheriff Bowe must comply with state law,” said Shahid Haque, an attorney with Border Crossing Law Firm.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is not the only Montana law enforcement agency holding inmates on ICE detainers. According to ACLU of Montana, the class action lawsuit’s goal is to end the use of ICE detainers throughout the state of Montana as well as to bring justice to Ramon individually.
The Montanian was unable to reach the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for comment prior to this publication.