Blackie's House Of Beef, Inc. v. Castillo

659 F.2d 1211 (D.C. Cir. 1981)


Blackie's House of Beef, Inc. (P) operates the Blackie's House of Beef Restaurant and Deja Vu Cocktail Lounge located in Washington, D.C. D is the federal agency charged with enforcement of federal immigration laws. Blackie's House of Beef, Inc. (P) operates the Blackie's House of Beef Restaurant and Deja Vu Cocktail Lounge located in Washington, D.C. D is the federal agency charged with enforcement of federal immigration laws. D is empowered, without a warrant (1) to interrogate any alien or person believed to be an alien as to his right to be or to remain in the United States; (2) to arrest any alien … in the United States, if he (the INS agent) has reason to believe that the alien so arrested is in the United States in violation of any such law or regulation and is likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained for his arrest… 8 U.S.C. § 1357(a)(1) & (2). D began to receive information that illegal aliens were employed at P. D had a sworn statement by an illegal alien who had been apprehended by D and was in the process of undergoing deportation hearings. This informant had worked at P and, had personal knowledge that approximately 20 other illegal aliens were currently employed there. Another such affidavit was executed by an apprehended alien claiming to have worked at P. D also got three anonymous telephone calls in which informants notified D that P was employing illegal aliens. D also apprehended two illegal aliens who were carrying wage statements from P. One of them swore by affidavit that D was employing illegal aliens from El Salvador and Africa, and supplied the first names of three such employees. Agent Foster twice asked the owner and manager of D for permission to enter the restaurant and question suspected illegal aliens. D refused such consent. Agent Foster presented the assembled evidence and accompanying affidavits to a federal magistrate, asking that 'a search warrant be issued to any Agent of the Immigration and Naturalization Service authorizing him or them to enter with proper assistance … (P) and there to search for and arrest the individuals subject to arrest pursuant to Title 8, United States Code, Section 1357.' The warrant issued to search the 'entire premises of P.' D executed the warrant and at least 15 employees were seized,10 of whom proved to be illegal aliens subject to deportation. P filed suit for a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and damages, alleging that the search warrant was not supported by probable cause and thus violated the fourth amendment. The District Court agreed that the warrant was invalid. The court interpreted Rule 41, Fed.R.Crim.P., as only authorizing the issuance of search warrants to seize property. Therefore, the court concluded, the magistrate's reliance on Rule 41 was misplaced. D continued to receive information that illegal aliens were being employed at P. The affiant was quite specific, revealing names of suspected illegal aliens, explanations as to how he knew the suspects to be illegal aliens, and details as to the places in which such persons might be hiding. Agent Parry then surveyed P for several hours and observed employees working both inside and outside the restaurant, eighteen of whom were believed to be aliens of Hispanic descent, principally because of their attire and seeming inability to speak any language but Spanish. Agent Riordan staked out P and observed numerous persons of apparent Hispanic descent entering through the back doors of the restaurant. P even bragged in a newspaper article as having said that he hires foreign workers because of their reliability and that he does not demand to see their green cards (proof of legal immigrant status) except in Virginia. D claimed to derive its power to search from its general powers to question aliens and to enforce immigration laws. 8 U.S.C. §§ 1357, 1103(a). The warrant was issued. During the 23-minute search, D removed 14 suspected illegal aliens from P, who were detained for an additional 10 minutes in an alley behind the restaurant while transportation to the local INS office was being arranged. The return was made reciting the names and country of origin of 14 illegal aliens found on the premises. P filed suit for injunctive and declaratory relief, and for damages in the amount of $500,000, alleging that this second warrant violated the fourth amendment and that the search as executed was disruptive and exceeded all reasonable limits. The District Court held the warrant invalid, ruling that this second warrant failed to satisfy the fourth amendment because it failed to describe with particularity each alien sought. D appealed both cases and both warrants.