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Two men sue Tennessee for taking, holding their green cards

Staff Report • Nov 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM

According to a report by the Tennessean a pair of men whose green cards were confiscated at a Franklin driver's license office over concerns the documents were fake are suing the Tennessee Department of Public Safety.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Monday against the department and its commissioner, claims that by confiscating and keeping the men's green cards for months, the Tennessee Department of Safety violated several of the men's constitutional rights.

Plaintiffs Enrique Bautista and Juan Carlos Angel-Lopez could not be reached for comment Monday. Both men are natives of Mexico and legal permanent residents with green cards issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Tennessee Department of Labor declined to comment on the suit.

"Without going into the specifies of the case, it's incumbent upon the Department of Safety to investigate when we have suspicion or reason to believe that documents may be fraudulent," said Mike Browning, department spokesman.

In 2002, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found an Ohio trooper had violated a group of farm workers' rights when he kept their green cards for four days. Legal permanent residents cannot travel outside the country without their green cards, and it is a federal misdemeanor not to carry the card at all times. Tennessee is a part of the Sixth Circuit.

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