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Hispanic immigrants sue U.S. city after crackdown

Ten Hispanic immigrants filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against a Connecticut city, its mayor and police chief, and federal agents who led a crackdown on illegal immigration last year.The suit filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticutimm1.jpg, claims the arrests violated the civil rights of nine workers and a 10th man who was stopped at a traffic light, including their right to due legal process, free speech and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, according to court documents.

It is the latest legal challenge to crackdowns on illegal immigrants, as localities nationwide grapple with how to handle their status.

The lawsuit claims undercover police in Danbury, Connecticut, lured the workers into a van by posing as contractors looking for day laborers.

“He offered us work and we took it,” plaintiff Juan Barrera told a news conference, referring to an undercover police officer. “We didn’t know why, but they immediately arrested us and put us in handcuffs. We didn’t know what was going on.

“They treated me like a violent criminal and all I was trying to do was find work,” Barrera added.

After their 2006 arrest in a sting set up by local and federal authorities, the men were handed over to federal agents, held without charge for days or weeks, then transported to detention centers before being released on bond, court documents said.

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