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ACLU of Utah and Salt Lake County Settle Lawsuit Regarding Immigration Detention Policies

25 August 2014 Published in Newsroom

Enrique Uroza and Salt Lake County have settled a civil-rights lawsuit against the County and Sheriff Jim Winder. Mr. Uroza alleged that County jail officials had unlawfully detained him to investigate his immigration status in the summer of 2011.

 

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 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 25, 2014

 MEDIA CONTACTS:  

John Mejia, ACLU of Utah, Telephone:  801.521.9862, x.108, Cell Phone: 801.680.9575, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For Salt Lake County: Sheriff James Winder, Telephone: 385.468.9900

 SALT LAKE CITY— Enrique Uroza and Salt Lake County have settled a civil-rights lawsuit against the County and Sheriff Jim Winder. Mr. Uroza alleged that County jail officials had unlawfully detained him to investigate his immigration status in the summer of 2011.  Mr. Uroza, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah (“ACLU of Utah”), B. Kent Morgan, and Latham & Watkins, LLP, brought the action in 2011, after the Salt Lake County Metro Jail and, later, the federal government, held him for a total of 46 days after he had posted bail.  The lawsuit will continue against the United States and the federal agents named as defendants.

As part of the settlement, Salt Lake County agreed to permanently end its “SB81 procedure,” under which it did not allow detainees whom its jail officials suspected of being undocumented immigrants to be released for 48 hours. The County conceded that the jail’s SB81 procedure was unconstitutionally implemented as it applied to Mr. Uroza, which was an unintended consequence of the jail’s attempt to comply with the State Legislature’s SB81 bill enacted in 2008.  The County suspended the policy in 2011. The County has further agreed to a continuing dialogue with Mr. Uroza’s counsel about its current policies and procedures relating to jail detainees and immigration issues.  Mr. Uroza will also receive $75,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees and costs as part of the settlement.  

“We are grateful to Salt Lake County and Sheriff Winder for their willingness to carefully look at their jail policies and to permanently end the SB81 procedure,” said John Mejia, Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah.  “We think that this case highlights the dangers of the state legislature’s attempting to delve into the complex area of immigration enforcement and the difficulties that laws like SB 81 present to local law enforcement agencies,” he continued.

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