Immigrant Sues City of Marysville for Unlawful Detention Pursuant to Immigration & Customs Enforcement Detainer

July 26th, 2019

Media Contacts

Leila Kang, Staff Attorney
(206) 957-8608;



Seattle, WA – Yesterday, Mr. Enrique Ahumada Meza filed a lawsuit against the City of Marysville and Sergeant Matthew Goolsby of the Marysville Police Department for unlawfully detaining him on two separate occasions late 2017 and in February 2018. Officers with the Marysville Police Department twice detained Mr. Ahumada pursuant to a detainer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), despite federal court decisions that hold this practice violates the Fourth Amendment. Mr. Ahumada is represented by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) and McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren PLLC in the case, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.


Mr. Ahumada’s complaint seeks redress for the Marysville Police Department’s decision to detain him based solely on an ICE detainer. In December 2017, Marysville police officers arrested Mr. Ahumada for a domestic violence incident that was later dismissed. The Marysville Municipal Court ordered Mr. Ahumada released on his own recognizance while his case proceeded, but the police refused to let Mr. Ahumada go because ICE had issued a detainer requesting that Marysville continue his detention despite the court’s release order. Mr. Ahumada was subsequently transferred to ICE custody at the Northwest Detention Center and released on bond in February 2018.


When Mr. Ahumada was released, he learned that the municipal court had issued a warrant for his arrest for failure to attend a hearing while in ICE detention. Mr. Ahumada proceeded immediately to turn himself in to the Marysville Police on February 14, 2018. The next day, February 15, 2018, a state court again ordered Mr. Ahumada released on his own recognizance. However, the Marysville Police Department again held Mr. Ahumada pursuant to an ICE detainer, despite a release request from Mr. Ahumada’s public defender advising that this continued detention was unlawful. Mr. Ahumada, who is HIV positive, was then detained overnight at the Marysville Detention Center and denied access to his daily medication, which is critical to maintaining his health. The following morning, the Marysville Police again transferred Mr. Ahumada to ICE, which released Mr. Ahumada later that day.


“What the Marysville Police did to me was wrong.” said Mr. Ahumada. “The second time I was arrested, I was only trying to do the right thing, but they rearrested me and treated me poorly, which has left me traumatized. I hope that this lawsuit helps others by making clear to the City of Marysville that it can’t treat immigrants like me in this way.”


“Federal courts have made clear that local law enforcement agencies like the Marysville Police Department may not detain immigrants based on an ICE detainer.” said Matt Adams, Legal Director for NWIRP. “Agencies that detain noncitizens like Mr. Ahumada violate their civil rights, face civil liability, and also run afoul of state law, which now prohibits these agencies from honoring ICE detainers. We hope that the City of Marysville will join other cities throughout the state in respecting these constitutional norms and state law.”


A link to the complaint can be found here