INS raid leads to lawsuit

  Three people who believe they were mistreated in an immigration raid in Jackson, Wyo., last summer have filed paperwork seeking more than $1.8 million in damages from three government agencies.

The first is AgustÆn Perez, a legal alien from neighoring Driggs, Idaho, who alleges that two guns were held to his head during an Aug. 25 raid conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the town of Jackson and Teton County (HCN, 12/23/96). The other two are Perez's sister, Martha Lira, and her husband, Miguel Lira, who allege their Jackson home was illegally searched.

The claims say four officers, two of which were INS agents, slammed Perez against Lira's trailer, pointed a gun at his face and one at the back of his head and jerked his arm roughly. "We believe it was the INS agents that drew the guns," says Bob Horn, the plaintiffs' attorney.

His clients were shaken by the experience, adds Horn. "They're not doing well at all. I think part of what's involved here is that people who are the weakest are hurt the most."

If all three entities deny the claims as expected, Horn said the matter will likely end up in court.

* Alison Gregor

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