FTCA Administrative Complaint against CBP and Border Patrol for False Arrest at a Greyhound Bus Station
Sosa Segura v. United States of America, No. 2:19-cv-00219-SAB (E.D. Wash., filed Jun. 25, 2019)
On June 20, 2018 the ACLU of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed a claim under the FTCA on behalf of Andres Sosa Segura, who was unlawfully seized and detained by Border Patrol agents at an intermodal transit station in Spokane, Washington.
Mr. Sosa, a resident of Washington, traveled regularly to Montana for work. On his return trip from Montana, after disembarking a bus at the Spokane station to make a transfer, Mr. Sosa was approached by Border Patrol agents who began to interrogate him about his legal status. Mr. Sosa had been the only Latinx-appearing passenger on the bus. He asserted his right to remain silent and showed the agents a “know your rights” card. Upon viewing the card, one of the agents called Mr. Sosa “illegal,” and both agents positioned their bodies so he could not leave, even once putting their hand on their gun as though to imply the use of force if Mr. Sosa did not comply.
The agents continued to question Mr. Sosa and to threaten him with deportation, even after he disclosed he had already been released from immigration detention and had an ankle monitor. They eventually drove him to a detention facility an hour away from the bus station and continued to detain him for several hours while they verified he had been released from immigration detention on bond. Eventually, Mr. Sosa was driven back to the Spokane bus station and released, though he had already missed all buses back to his home. The complaint letter asserts that Mr. Sosa experienced humiliation, emotional distress, and other damages during the time he was falsely arrested and falsely imprisoned.
On June 25, 2019, Mr. Sosa filed a complaint in federal district court, as CBP failed to issue a final disposition on the administrative complaint within the required six-month period. The government filed a subsequent motion to dismiss, which was denied on November 22, 2019. Mr. Sosa filed for partial summary judgment on September 23, 2020, which was denied on November 17, 2020. A bench trial set for January 19, 2021, has been postponed due to the pandemic, and is now scheduled for June 2021. In March 2021, the government reached a settlement agreement with Mr. Sosa which included an award for damages.
In the course of discovery, the government agreed to lift a confidentiality designation on certain information produced, including deposition excerpts from an officer confirming that CBP no longer requires agents to possess “actionable intelligence” prior to performing security checks at transportation hubs like bus stations. That requirement came into place during the Obama administration, but was lifted after Trump’s election. In addition, the confidentiality designation was lifted on an internal CBP memo from January 2020 detailing Border Patrol’s interpretation of its statutory authority to engage in “suspicionless and consensual encounters” at public bus or train stations.
- FTCA Complaint Letter
- Motion to Dismiss
- Order Denying Motion to Dismiss
- Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
- Order Denying Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
- Settlement Agreement
- Deposition Excerpt on Actionable Intelligence
- CBP Memo on Transportation Checks
Counsel: ACLU of Washington | Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
Contact: Matt Adams | Northwest Immigrant Rights Project | firstname.lastname@example.org
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