Fifth Circuit to Hear Appeal of Lawsuit Filed by U-Visa Holder

December 5, 2017

(Los Angeles, CA) - A MALDEF attorney, who represents an immigrant woman who was arrested and deported from the United States despite having a visa authorizing her to be in the country, will present oral argument Wednesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

MALDEF is co-appellate counsel in an appeal of the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a lawfully present immigrant for false arrest and false imprisonment.

The plaintiff, Guadalupe Chaidez Campos, was arrested by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent in El Paso, Texas, and deported in 2013 despite her lawful status as a holder of a U visa, which is granted by the federal government to crime victims who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and who agree to help law enforcement investigate and prosecute criminal activity. As a U visa holder, Ms. Chaidez Campos was entitled to and received an employment authorization document. On the day of her arrest, she informed the immigration agent of her lawful status and presented her employment authorization document. The agent disregarded Ms. Chaidez Campos’s statement and proof of lawful immigration status. She was eventually deported to Mexico. Ms. Chaidez Campos later filed suit against the United States for false arrest and false imprisonment, and returned to the United States as a lawful U-visa holder. The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas dismissed Ms. Chaidez Campos’s claims, and she appealed.

The issue before the Fifth Circuit is whether the United States has waived sovereign immunity. While the doctrine of sovereign immunity states that the government cannot be sued for its wrongful acts, MALDEF, on behalf of Ms. Chaidez Campos, will argue that the United States waived its immunity by passing a federal statute allowing suit for false arrest and false imprisonment, and that the trial court erred in dismissing her lawsuit.

Who: Jack Salmon, Staff Attorney, MALDEF

When: Dec. 6, 2017, at 1 p.m. CST

Where: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
John Minor Wisdom United States Court of Appeals Building
600 Camp Street
New Orleans, Louisiana

What: Oral argument in Guadalupe Chaidez Campos v. United States.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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