Mexican immigrant sues Chicago police for labeling him a gang member

By Chris Kenning

 

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Mexican immigrant sued Chicago police in federal court on Tuesday, saying he was mistakenly listed in a gang database that cost him federal protections and will lead to his deportation later this month.

 

Luis Vicente Pedrote-Salinas, 25, of Chicago, argued in a lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in Chicago that his false inclusion on the gang list led immigration agents to raid his home in 2011 and detain him. He was brought to the United States when he was five years old.

 

U.S authorities denied his application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, even though he met all the requirements, the lawsuit said. President Barack Obama created DACA to give people brought to the county as children temporary protection from deportation.

 

Pedrote must leave the country July 20.

The lawsuit seeks damages and asks the judge to declare that the city's practices violated Pedrote's constitutional rights.

Chicago police spokesman Frank Giancamilli declined to comment.

It is not the first lawsuit targeting the Chicago police database. Sejal Zota, legal director of the National Immigration Project, sued on behalf of a client in May she said was also mistakenly listed. Those concerns come as agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement increasingly target gang members for deportation, she said.

"The problem with these databases is you're never informed that you're part of a gang database, and you're never confronted with any evidence they're using," she said.

"Mr. Pedrote was not the first, nor the last person to be targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of false information ICE received from the CPD," the lawsuit said. "This gang database is arbitrary, over-inclusive and contains false information."

Pedrote argued in the lawsuit that no process existed to allow him to contest inclusion.

Pedrote's troubles began in January 2011, when Chicago police working as part of a "gang suppression mission" arrested him on an alcohol-related charge that was later dismissed, the lawsuit said.

Police then falsely listed him as member of the Latin Kings, the lawsuit said, including him because of his race, age and neighborhood, and triggering a "catastrophic chain of events."

In August 2011, Pedrote was arrested by immigration agents acting on the gang information, the lawsuit said. After six months jail, he has fought to stay in the country.

(Reporting by Chris Kenning)

 
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