Young Man Is Suing Federal Government Because Being Detained Is Stopping Him From Renewing DACA Status
In November, the Supreme Court finally heard from the attorney’s representing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) community. It was a moment that was a long time coming. For the past three years, or we should say since Donald Trump was elected as president, the DACA community has lived a life of limbo and uncertainty as DACA has been attacked. So, while we wait for the decision from the Supreme Court, which should be at some point early next year, some DACA beneficiaries are still fighting for their lives.
Twenty-four-year-old Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez is suing the government because he continues to be in ICE detention.
In May 2019, Lopez Gutierrez was on his way home to Chicago from a camping trip with friends when they were pulled over. An Iowa police officer found that Lopez Gutierrez was in possession of marijuana. He was arrested on the spot. What made the issue more complicated was that Lopez Gutierrez was undocumented.
While the drug charges were dropped, Lopez Gutierrez was still taken to ICE detention. You may be wondering if this 24-year-old man had DACA protection. Well, he did.
Lopez Gutierrez had DACA in 2013, but when it expired in 2015, he had not renewed his application. Then Trump became president, and no one was safe. Soon after his election, people with DACA were being detained. Now, attorney’s for Lopez Gutierrez say he must be released in order to reapply for DACA.
“Jesus has spent more than seven months in immigration detention. Under ICE’s policies, they should have released him. If they only released him, he would be able to get DACA again to apply for renewal and avoid deportation. Instead, they are keeping him in jail, violating the U.S. Constitution,” his attorney Wally Hilke said this week at a press conference, a local Chicago radio station reports.
The lawsuit filed is against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and two agencies within that department. Lopez Gutierrez’s attorney says he must be released because he qualifies for temporary protection from deportation.
“We are asking that Beto be released from detention,” Xanat Sobrevilla of OCAD told the radio station. “His immediate freedom is necessary. Beto is missed by his family and community. We will pursue and continue fighting until Beto is back home in Chicago.”
They also instructed supporters how they can assist by calling to get him released.
“Just a reminder that we’re still pushing for Jesus Alberto to be transferred to Chicago as this is the next immediate step in his Fight for Freedom. In order to make that happen, we need to pressure Eric Ouellette to transfer Jesus to Chicago, and we know they won’t act in our favor unless the community is constantly pressuring them.”
Mijente has also started a petition to show their support for Lopez Gutierrez.
“As the youngest member of his nuclear family, Jesus contributes the majority of his wages to ensure his family’s financial stability,” Mijente stated on their website. “He is in charge of providing care and physical support for his aging parents, both diagnosed with diabetes and his elderly grandmother, who requires constant care and assistance. Jesus would spend most of his days working but, in his free time, he likes to go running in the neighborhood park and enjoys camping trips with his friends. Since his detention in May, Beto’s family and community launched a campaign to stop his deportation, but by September, the immigration judge overseeing his case ordered his removal. But Beto is not giving up, with the support of his legal team he decided to sue the agencies that are keeping him locked up and away from his family.”
Mijente adds that the ICE detention in Minnesota, which is where Lopez Gutierrez is being detained, has the jurisdiction to release him.
“ICE’s top officials in Minnesota have the authority to release Jesus from detention so that he has the opportunity to apply for DACA. Sign the petition to demand Minnesota ICE Field Director Peter Berg to release Jesus Lopez immediately from Freeborn County Jail in Minnesota on his own recognizance and allow him to proceed with his DACA renewal process.”