Of Katz and Aliens: Privacy Expectations and the Immigration Raids

66 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2007 Last revised: 27 Feb 2010


This article examines privacy rights for noncitizens in the context of the recent immigration raids in peoples' homes and the workplace. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement office is conducting these raids with general or defective warrants and executes them in a discriminate dragnet-style, mostly against Latinos. The Fourth Amendment, however, provides little protection to immigrants and their families. The author explores how law's construction of immigrants' illegality interplay with Fourth Amendment doctrines of consent, reasonable expectation of privacy, pretextual stops, and administrative searches to deny immigrants privacy's protection. As well, the author explores the spread of immigration databases and the proliferation of federal and local regulation spaces occupied by immigrants within the border to examine the legal justifications for these generalized and defective warrants. The author concludes by urging courts to reconsider reliance on immigrants' unlawful presence in the U.S. to excuse law enforcement abuses and offers several legal and policy reasons in favor of privacy protection for noncitizens.

Keywords: Immigration, Fourth Amendment, Criminal Procedure, Privacy

JEL Classification: K39, K42, K14

Suggested Citation

Aldana, Raquel E., Of Katz and Aliens: Privacy Expectations and the Immigration Raids. UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 41, No. 3, 2008, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=993969

Raquel E. Aldana (Contact Author)

UC Davis ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Apt 153
Davis, CA 95616
United States

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