COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado judge says a sheriff cannot keep people who have paid bond in jail for possible deportation by federal authorities.

District Court Judge Eric Bentley ruled Tuesday that El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder cannot use requests from immigration authorities to continue holding two men after they have paid bond.

The Colorado American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in February on behalf of the two men, arguing that the sheriff’s office was improperly holding them after state law required their release.

Bentley’s order grants the ACLU’s request that the men be released as that lawsuit continues.

The sheriff’s office argues that it was merely housing the immigrants on behalf of federal agents who may want to deport them.

A spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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