Immigration and Customs Enforcement used baseless and unconstitutional "immigration holds" to detain thousands of U.S. citizens and legal residents, a class action claims in Federal Court.

Lead plaintiff Gerardo Gonzalez sued ICE and its officials John Morton, David Marin, and David Palmatier, alleging unlawful seizure and unreasonable detention.

Gonzalez claims that ICE since 2008 ICE has issued immigration detainers, or "holds," to local authorities to "detain an individual for 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, beyond the time he or she would otherwise be released from criminal custody."

The program gives ICE time to check whether detainees are subject to removal, and take them into custody.

Gonzalez, 23, is in Los Angeles County jail awaiting trial on drug charges. He says ICE issued an immigration detainer against him, though FBI records of his prior arrests make it clear that he was born in Pacoima, Calif., and is a native-born U.S. citizen. He says those records were available to ICE.