A state judge has stopped the identity theft investigation in Weld County that snared more than 1,000 suspected undocumented immigrants, according to The New York Times, which reports that District Court Judge James H. Hiatt has ruled that the search of records at Amalia's Translation and Tax Services was unlawful and unnecessarily invaded people's privacy. The documents were used to arrest dozens of suspected undocumented immigrants on charges of illegally using Social Security numbers and also spawned a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado against Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (pictured) and Sheriff John Cooke, claiming the privacy expectations of the tax service's clients were trampled. The judge agreed, ordering that the 5,000 tax records seized in the October 17 raid be returned or destroyed, according to The Denver Post, which quotes Hiatt as saying "there was little the public could gain from this search." Immigrant-rights advocates had complained that migrant workers were being punished for following U.S. law and paying their taxes, which is required regardless of a person's official immigration status, 7News points out.
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