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Citizen detained as illegal immigrant, federal suit claims
By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff

A McHenry County man filed suit against Sheriff Keith Nygren and three of his correctional officers.


Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/12/2010 12:01 AM | Updated: 5/12/2010 12:33 PM

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A McHenry County man filed suit against Sheriff Keith Nygren and three of his correctional officers Tuesday, claiming he was detained for several hours as a suspected illegal immigrant despite offering proof of his citizenship.

Edward Bustos, 32, claims sheriff's officers falsely imprisoned him in 2008 after he said he was born in Mexico while being processed on a traffic offense.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, seeks undisclosed compensatory and punitive damages for "loss of liberty, emotional distress and pecuniary damages including lost wages" for the Harvard resident.

Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said he had not seen the suit and therefore could not comment on the claims.

According to the suit, Bustos was arrested about 8 p.m. Nov. 9, 2008 after a sheriff's deputy stopped him for driving with a headlight out and discovered his driver's license had been revoked.

The suit claims that when Bustos was brought to the jail for processing, a correctional officer asked him where he was born and whether he was in the country legally. Bustos, the suit states, said he was born in Mexico, but is now a U.S. citizen.

Despite his attempt to show a military identification card confirming his citizenship, Bustos was placed on an immigration hold, locked in a cell and told he could not bond out, the suit alleges.

About an hour later, the suit states, Bustos' brother came to the jail with the plaintiff's certificate of naturalization, but was ignored by correctional officers.

Bustos, the suit says, finally was released about 7:15 a.m. the next day.