ACLU sounds alarm on non-criminal immigrant detentions in Anchorage

The Alaska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is raising the alarm about what it characterizes as a raid by federal immigration authorities in Anchorage this week.

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According to the ACLU, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested at least five people in Anchorage on Tuesday, none of whom appear to have participated in any criminal activity.

That would be a departure from Obama administration policies that only targeted those facing criminal charges. It also seems to represent a new development in ICE’s policies in Alaska under the Trump Administration. Earlier this year, ICE arrested four people living in Anchorage with prior criminal convictions, but the ACLU says Tuesday’s was the first raid to detain immigrants who were apparently not involved in criminal activity.

ACLU Legal and Policy Director Tara Rich refused to talk about specifics in the more recent detentions. But Rich said such raids in Alaska are unusual and they often occur at the person’s home or workplace.

“These are often fraught with violations of Fourth Amendment and privacy rights, as well as the rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures,” Rich said.

Rich said regardless of a person’s immigration or citizenship status, they still have civil rights, including the right to an attorney.

ICE public affairs officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts. Reach him at

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