A Louisiana federal district judge on Tuesday rejected a petition for the release of an undocumented journalist held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. This means that Manuel Duran will remain in ICE custody while his immigration case is litigated. The journalist was arrested by Memphis police while covering a protest, and then he was re-arrested by ICE upon release from county jail.
Duran previously told The Daily Beast that he believes he was “without a doubt” targeted for his journalism. Judge Dee Drell rejected Duran’s release petition, arguing that his claims against local authorities are moot because he is no longer in their custody and that he did not prove his current detention by ICE is unlawful or unconstitutional.
“Duran Ortega was ordered removed in 2006; therefore ICE had probable cause to detain him at any appropriate time. That probable cause is independent of his claims of retaliation and constitutional violation by state agencies,” Drell wrote.
Duran’s lawyers contended in the petition that his ICE arrest was caused by his original arrest by the Memphis Police Department. “Mr. Duran Ortega’s arrest and current detention by DHS flows directly from the unlawful arrest and detention effectuated by the MPD and [the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office] and accordingly violates the Fourth Amendment.”