A class action lawsuit accuses the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in St. Paul of wrongly detaining people even after a judge has rejected deporting them.
ICE declined to comment on pending litigation. The suit comes from the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Law School's Center for New Americans and Dorsey & Whitney.
Immigration judges can permit people who are in the U.S. illegally to stay if they face potential persecution or torture at home.
Teresa Nelson of ACLU Minnesota says the St. Paul field office is misapplying the law in such cases and jailing people for up to 90 days, even though she says they can legally stay in the U.S.
"They've had the ruling, they've been granted humanitarian relief, the appeals process is over," Nelson said. "There's no other reason to hold them at this point. The judge has equivalently found that they will face torture or persecution on their home country."