Last month, a U.S. citizen named Rony Chávez Aguilar filed a lawsuit against ICE after being held in custody for three weeks while ICE prepared to deport him, reported Fusion.
Chávez Aguilar was born in Guatemala and came to the United States in 1991. His mother became a naturalized citizen in 1999 when he was 14 years old. Aguilar became a citizen in 2001.
Why did ICE detain Aguilar? According to The Daily Beast, ICE believed Aguilar was undocumented. Aguilar was arrested in Kentucky and pleaded guilty to drug charges. He served two weeks in county jail and should have been let go, but instead he was held for an extra two days at the request of the ICE office in Chicago, which covers Kentucky as part of their jurisdiction.
“ICE Chicago did not obtain a judicial warrant to arrest Plaintiff; has not provided a sworn, particularized statement of probable cause; has not promptly brought him before a detached and neutral judicial officer for a probable cause hearing; or has not brought him before a judge to understand the charges against him and receive important advisals regarding his due process rights, amongst other procedural protections,” reads the complaint.
Aguilar tried to explain to ICE that they had no business detaining him, but they weren’t having it. “He said, ‘Hey, I’m a citizen,’” Charles Roth, Aguilar’s attorney, told the Daily Beast. According to the lawsuit, Aguilar was not “promptly” or at all brought before a judge to explain his situation.
According to Roth, Aguilar was released soon after the suit was filed on March 27. He and Aguilar are hoping to get class-action approval so that others who languish in detention for weeks can join the suit.
COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the globe and governments are desperately trying to get a handle on the virus. More than a third of the world’s population are living under lockdown conditions in more than 20 countries on all continents. Thirty-two states are currently under lockdown orders as of April 1 and Florida’s lockdown will take effect the night of April 2. That translates to about three out of every four Americans living under some form of lockdown orders.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is demanding ICE release migrants in detention centers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Now, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is calling for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to step up and release migrants in detention. There are thousands of migrants currently in detention centers in the U.S. and documented overcrowding of the facilities is cause for alarm during a health pandemic.
According to a report from ICE, four detainees and five agents have tested positive for COVID-19. Immigration advocates have been calling for ICE to release detainees to protect migrants from contracting COVID-19.
“ICE’s failure to reduce detention numbers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has a real possibility of creating a severe health crisis for detention centers and overwhelming local health care facilities,” Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas said in a statement.
As the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spreads across the globe, there is one population the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties (ACLUF-SDIC) is trying to protect: migrants. The virus, which is highly contagious, has infected more than 127,000 people across 6 continents. More than 68,000 people have recovered from the virus. To date, more than 4,700 people have died from the disease and the ACLU wants to make sure detained migrants don’t die because of the virus.
The ACLUF-SDIC is calling on the U.S. federal government to create a plan to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in migrant detention centers.
The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading across the globe triggering strong reactions from governments seeking to limit the spread. Italy has locked down the country to tell everyone in the country to quarantine.
So far, more than 1,300 people in the U.S have tested positive for COVID-19 and 38 have died. Most of the fatalities were in Washington state where 21 deaths happened in Seattle-area long-care facilities.
The ACLUF-SDIC is calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop a detailed plan to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 in detention centers.
The ACLUF-SDIC wants a written plan to prove that immigration officials have the migrants’ health in mind.
“ICE detention facilities in San Diego and Imperial counties must act quickly to put in place a comprehensive emergency plan that protects people in their custody from COVID-19,” Monika Langarica, immigrants’ rights staff attorney for the ACLUF-SDIC, is quoted in a release. “The spread of the virus into a detention center would have devastating consequences for the people locked up inside.”
The ACLUF-SIDC is concerned about the inadequate medical care and overcrowding could lead to a serious outbreak of COVID-19 within the detained migrant population.
Other ACLU chapters are calling on ICE to work with migrants to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The ACLU of Louisiana has asked ICE to offer expedited hearings for the elderly detained migrants to preserve their health.
“Given the CDC’s warnings about avoiding confined spaces and the threat COVID-19 poses to the frail and elderly, immediate steps must be taken to safeguard the health and well-being of incarcerated people across the state,” Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director is quoted in a statement. “We know that confining people in close quarters increases the risk of infection, but right now thousands of Louisianans are incarcerated based on the mere accusation of a crime and an inability to pay bail. In the interests of public health, we’re calling for expedited parole hearings for the elderly in state prisons and for the immediate release of people who are being jailed pretrial based solely on their inability to pay bail. We look forward to working with state, federal, and local officials to ensure the health and well-being of all people under correctional control in our state.”
For more information about COVID-19 and how you can prevent it, click here.
It is the right, under the constitution, of state and local governments, including law enforcement, to refuse to cooperate with federal law. In other words, if the federal government issues a mandate, local officials do not have to comply. That is why some cities abide by Sanctuary policies to protect undocumented immigrants that are being persecuted by government agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). However, ICE isn’t bowing down to the constitution and is taking matters to the courts.
Earlier this week, Homeland Security has issued a subpoena to Denver law enforcement to get information on three Mexican nationals and one Honduran who were previously in custody.
“Since we have no cooperation at the Denver justice center, we are modifying our tactics to produce information,” Henry Lucero, deputy executive associate director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, said, according to the Associated Press.
According to the AP, Denver officials have 14 days to respond to the subpoena in three of the cases, but in the other, they have three days to respond. ICE officials allege that all four foreign nationals have been in jail for sexual assault and child abuse and have been previously deported.
“In the past, we had full support. We collaborated in the interest of public safety,” Lucero added. “This is a drastic change. And one ICE is forced to do and puts other agencies on notice that we don’t want this to happen. We want to protect the public.”
Officials at the Denver mayor’s office said they would not comply with the demands of ICE because the paperwork issued by ICE are not proper subpoenas but rather administrative forms and not legal document signed by a judge.
“The documents appear to be a request for information related to alleged violations of civil immigration law,” Chad Sublet, Senior Counsel to the Department of Safety in Denver, wrote, according to Time magazine. “Based on these facts, we are denying your request.”
Despite the support of local officials of Sanctuary policies, the majority of those cities have been struck by ICE as they have conducted numerous raids there, including in Denver.
Cities including Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago all have protections in place for undocumented people, but that has only fueled ICE to conduct raids there and elsewhere. Last year in September, ICE conducted raids in Colorado and Wyoming and, within four days, arrested 42 undocumented immigrants.
“It is our belief that state sanctuary policies [do] not keep the community safe,” John Fabbricatore, the acting director of the Denver ICE field office, said last year, according to KDVR news.
“We don’t believe deportation is ever the answer to what criminal activity might be going on,” Jordan García, with the Colorado Rapid Response Network, said in response to the raids.
In 2017, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock signed a law that stated law officials would not comply with ICE in any capacity.
The Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act was first signed unanimously by the Denver City Council, which was then signed by Mayor Hancock. The mandate “bans city officials from asking an arrested individual’s immigration status.”
While some city officials have prohibited the collaboration between local officials and federal agencies, that has not stopped some from working with ICE to arrest undocumented immigrants.
Last year in September, the Milwaukee Police Department assisted ICE agents in the detainment of a local resident who was undocumented. Even though Milwaukee does not have a Sanctuary policy in place, Police Chief Morales had previously said a year before they would not collaborate with ICE.
“I promised to bring back the public trust,” Morales said in 2018. “My job is to bring (back) trust from the community and work with them; my job is not to go out and enforce those types of laws.”
Those statements are why people were outraged that local Milwaukee officers assisted ICE in the detainment of an undocumented father.