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FTCA and Other Civil Rights Claims - Immigration Enforcement & Damages Actions


Speaker(s): Angélica Salceda, Araceli Martínez-Olguín, Howard Slavitt, Julia Harumi Mass
Recorded on: Aug. 24, 2017
PLI Program #: 219057

Angélica Salceda is a staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, where she focuses on economic justice, immigrants’ rights, and civil rights and civil liberties enforcement in the Central Valley.

Her current cases include a suit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for refusing to release documents that would shed light on the agency’s treatment of asylum seekers. She is also leading an administrative Federal Torts Claim Act on behalf of two Guatemalan teenage sisters who were assaulted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. She was also part of the litigation team in Lyon v. I.C.E., a class action on behalf of immigrant detainees in northern California to address the lack of reasonable telephone access in immigration detention facilities, a condition of confinement that prevents immigrants from fully and fairly litigating their deportation cases.

Prior to joining the ACLU as a staff attorney, Angélica was an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Fenwick & West. As an Equal Justice Works Fellow, Angélica led a project to identify and remove educational barriers impacting pregnant and parenting students in California’s Central Valley. She authored a report titled, “Breaking Down Educational Barriers for California’s Pregnant and Parenting Students.” As a result of her report, the California Legislature passed and approved Assembly Bill 302 to ensure that lactating students in K-12 schools have access to a private, secure place to breastfeed or express milk during school hours.

Angélica is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law, where she participated in the International Human Rights Clinic on a project focused on the human right to water in California. As a student with the clinic, she co-authored a report titled, “The Human Right to Water Bill in California: An Implementation Framework for State Agencies.” While in law school, Angélica served as the UC Berkeley School of Law student body president, External Vice President of the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly, and President of the University of California Student Association.


Howard Slavitt specializes in real estate, trust and estate, and other complex commercial litigation matters. He counsels fiduciaries and also represents them in litigation involving alleged breaches of fiduciary and professional duties. He also prosecutes and defends intellectual property disputes, including trade secrets, patent, trademark and copyright litigation.

Howard has significant experience related to family business disputes (often with real estate holdings) and in trust and estate litigation. Because these cases often become emotionally charged matters, Howard works closely with his clients to ensure their goals are achieved effectively, efficiently, and privately.

In addition to these areas, Howard has broad experience in general business disputes and in defending consumer class actions, unfair business practices and California Proposition 65 litigation. Howard also often represents clients in appeals.

Howard currently serves as Co-Chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Estate Planning, Probate and Trust - Litigation Subsection. He is a member of the California State Bar, the American Bar Association, and the Bar Association of San Francisco.

For more than 15 years, Howard has provided pro bono services to low-income individuals as a volunteer and member of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also prosecuted pro bono appeals in the Ninth Circuit and the California Courts of Appeal.

Howard received his undergraduate degree in history summa cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley (1985) and his master's degree in cinema production from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1989).  He earned his law degree magna cum laude from Harvard University (1994) where he was also a general editor and executive editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.


Julia Harumi Mass is a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. Since joining the ACLU in 2003, Julia has worked on a variety of issues including students’ rights, immigrants’ rightsfreedom of speech, and national security.

Since 2006, Julia has led the ACLU of Northern California’s immigrants’ rights work, which in recent years has focused on campaigns to limit local police and sheriff participation in immigration enforcement and litigation to increase access to justice for detained immigrants.

Her current cases include a suit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for refusing to release documents that would shed light on the agency’s treatment of asylum seekers. She also led the ACLU of Northern California in obtaining a groundbreaking settlement to allow immigrants in detention to access phones to contact lawyers, families, and government agencies. For someone in detention, basic phone access is necessary to getting their fair day in court, and therefore their only hope for returning to jobs and families. Julia also brought a successful class action lawsuit challenging the practice of holding immigrants indefinitely without due process in mandatory detention. Thousands of California’s immigrants may now make an individualized case against their detention.

In another class action lawsuit, Julia and co-counsel asserted that simply being in detention is not a legitimate basis to subject individuals to shackles in immigration court. After over two years of litigation, U.S. immigration authorities agreed to major changes to their shackling policy in San Francisco Immigration Court.

This historic settlement directly affected thousands of immigration detainees and has national implications as a model for litigation and policy across the United States.

In 2015 and 2016, California Lawyer/Daily Journal honored Julia as a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year in the area of immigration. Prior to her work at the ACLU, Julia represented public and private sector labor unions and employees as an associate with Rothner, Segall & Greenstone in Pasadena, California. She also clerked for the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She has a B.A. in Philosophy from Reed College and received her law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law.


Araceli joined CLSEPA in March 2017 to build a program that brings impact litigation and engages in policy advocacy to benefit immigrant communities on the Peninsula. Prior to joining CLSEPA, Araceli worked for the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights; ACLU National, as a member of the Women’s Rights Project and then the Immigrants’ Rights Project; and Legal Aid at Work (formerly, the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center), in the National Origin, Immigration, and Language Rights Program. Araceli also served as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge David Briones. Araceli received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley’s Law School (Boalt Hall) and earned her undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Araceli has taught Spanish for Lawyers as a lecturer at Berkeley Law, and is the 2010 recipient of the Hon. Thelton E. Henderson Social Justice Prize, which is awarded by Berkeley Law. Before law school, Araceli taught bilingual kindergarten through Teach for America in Oakland, California, and is herself a Mexican immigrant. She sits on the Executive Board of the American Constitution Society’s Bay Area Lawyers Chapter and is President of the East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association.