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Lawsuit Planned Over ICE Ankle Bracelet

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Maribel Arellano still cries when talking about the ankle bracelet she had to wear until recently. “It’s not good for me or my kids, I’d cry.”

Arellano is awaiting deportation.

Her advocate says last February, ICE ordered her to wear an ankle bracelet because she didn’t comply with all of the agency’s requests.

Ralph Isenberg says he was outraged because Arellano has seven children, all of who were born in the United States, and says Arellano isn’t a flight risk and hasn’t been convicted of any crime. “That’s not the purpose of ankle bracelets. Ankle bracelets are to make sure you’re not a flight risk. It’s cruel and unusual punishment.”

So Isenberg fired off a complaint to ICE, and last week he says the agency removed Arellano’s ankle bracelet… and told her she didn’t have to report to the office for six months.

“There’s no consistentcy,” says Isenberg.

An ICE spokesman denies the ankle bracelets are used to punish people. He says they are preferable to an alternative: detention.

Richard Roper is the former U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Texas. He says ICE is “in a tight position.”

Roper defends ICE’s policy of using ankle monitors, saying in many cases the bracelets allow those awaiting deportation to stay at home instead of being locked up.

In Arellano’s case, Roper says it’s clear that Isenberg’s complaint led ICE to change its mind about Arellano. “Actually they exercised greater discretion after hearing her side of the story, and decided to remove the ankle bracelet. The question is did they give her due process, and the answer is yes.”

Still, Isenberg says he’s going to file a federal lawsuit against ICE for placing the ankle bracelets on Maribel and others who, while here illegally, aren’t convicted criminals.

For now, Arellano is just glad to have the monitor off her leg. “I was so happy. I was jumping. Thank you God, thank you Ralph.”

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