In an action claiming abuse, mistreatment, and detention of Arab and Muslim aliens who were held on immigration violations in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, an order partially dismissing the complaint is affirmed in part where there was no clearly established equal protection right to be free of selective enforcement of immigration laws based on national origin, race, or religion at the time of plaintiffs' detentions. However, the order is vacated in part where defendant-officials were entitled to qualified immunity because a law enforcement official's actual motivation for the Fourth Amendment seizure of a person was constitutionally irrelevant if the seizure was supported by probable cause.
Argued: February 14, 2008
Decided: December 18, 2009
Michael Winger, C. William Phillips, Kate Greenwood, Amanda J. Gourdine, and Kimberly Zelnick, Covington & Burling LLP, New York, NY