The answer is yes. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) does make mistakes. While this should never happen, it is definitely a possibility.
This was the case when a Florida man was detained by ICE in the Keys. The man is now suing the local sheriff who’s deputies arrested him on behalf of federal agents who wanted him deported to Jamaica, even though he is a U.S. citizen.
The man filed the federal lawsuit on Monday, accusing the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in the Florida Keys of violating his constitutional rights.
The man, who lives in the Keys, wasn’t deported after a friend provided the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency with proof of his citizenship.
He was arrested last April by deputies at the request of ICE agents. He says he repeatedly told deputies he was a U.S. citizen and offered to produce a birth certificate showing he was born in Philadelphia.
If you are a U.S. citizen, and you are detained by ICE, assert your citizenship as loudly and as often as possible. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the search and/or seizure of a U.S. citizen not charged with a crime, however, this does not apply to undocumented immigrants. Because of this, ICE does not grant you the right to consult an attorney or to see an immigration judge if their agents believe you to be undocumented. Sadly, you are at their mercy; an ICE agent may grant you a phone call or contact your attorney or they could ignore your rights.
Do not consent to any searches or any kind of transport elsewhere. Try not lose your temper, but refuse any requests to come to the station or be searched without an attorney present. Keep repeating and asserting your rights.