Immigrants claim arrests were result racial profiling

NASHVILLE (AP) -- Eleven immigrants from Mexico are suing the Maury County Sheriff's Department, claiming they were illegally detained because of their "Hispanic appearance."

The sheriff's department, working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has arrested dozens of suspected illegal immigrants in recent months. Most of those arrested were not charged with any crimes other than being illegally in the country. Because of that, immigrants’ rights advocates have accused the sheriff's department of racial profiling.

Sheriff Enoch George has said previously that the arrests were made legitimately during criminal investigations in the county about 40 miles south of Nashville. County Attorney William Dale said he had not yet seen the suit and could not comment on it.

The suit was filed last Thursday in US District Court in Nashville after about 19 immigrants were arrested two days earlier while deputies and agents searched for a rape suspect in a trailer park.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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