Judge Upholds Immigrant’s Right to Remain Silent

A federal judge dismissed charges against a Kansas man accused of falsely obtaining US citizenship after determining he was unlawfully questioned by immigration agents, according to The Associated Press.

Jose Manuel Ortiz-Del Rio was arrested in November after agents showed up at his apartment to arrest another man for deportation. The agents, who did not have a warrant came across Ortiz-Del Rio and suspected that he was in the country illegally, reported the news source.

District Judge Eric Melgren said the agent’s actions were unconstitutional and dismissed charges with prejudice, meaning the same charges cannot be filed again. The source said Ortiz-Del Rio had been accused of falsely claiming US citizenship.

The judge said any responses Ortiz-Del Rio gave at the time of the confrontation occurred without a Miranda warning about self-incrimination. The news report said the ruling upholds the rights of illegal immigrants to remain silent under questioning from immigration authorities.

The verdict may be especially poignant in the immigration reform debate that is currently gripping the nation. Many states have proposed laws that would give police the authority to detain individuals they suspect may be illegal aliens, a move opponents say will encourage racial profiling.