Things That Matter

ICE Raids Home In Chicago And Ends Up Shooting A Legal Resident

Details of a shooting in Chicago are still emerging today as Felix Torres, a 53-year-old legal resident of the U.S., was shot in the arm by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as they were serving a warrant in the early hours of Monday morning. Torres’ current condition as a result of the shooting has been described as “serious.”

The Chicago Sun Times reports that ICE was at Felix Torres’ home to arrest his son, a 23-year-old “U.S.-born resident.”

ICE officials initially reported that the 53-year-old man pulled a gun as they were arresting his son, leading to the shooting. The family’s attorney, Thomas Hallock, said the man alleged to have pulled a gun does have a valid license to own a gun, but his family insists he didn’t have a gun during the raid and doesn’t even own one at the moment.

According to NBC Chicago, the shooting victim’s daughter, Carmen Torres, said, “My dad doesn’t have any guns, my dad just went to see what’s going on. He just opened the door and they just shot him.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, the 23-year-old son is currently facing a felony gun possession charge, but the charge is under the jurisdiction of the Chicago’s Cook County court, not ICE officials.

The family’s attorney has questioned why ICE was even at the home in the first place, as the family has legal residence in the U.S. Hallock told multiple sources, “I don’t know that they had a warrant, but they certainly made forced entry into the house.” Adding, “I don’t know if there was some sort of mistake here or what, but it’s all pretty bizarre.”

The incident is currently under review by ICE agents, who released a statement following the events.

“Any time an ICE officer or special agent discharges their firearm in the line of duty, the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility reviews the matter.” ICE’s statement then closed the matter publicly for now, saying, “Due to this ongoing review, no further details will be released at this time.”

According to the Washington Post, ICE has not yet said what their official business at the home was.

The family’s attorney is also saying little on the matter, as the issue is still being investigated by all sides.

Felix Torres came to the U.S. from Mexico more than 20 years ago with his wife. Both are legal residents of the U.S., leading the attorney to again question ICE’s motives, according to the Chicago Sun Times: “How ICE is involved in this, I still can’t figure out. How hard is it to pull up their database and see this man and his family are citizens?”

The family’s attorney did say he expects Torres to face “criminal charges.”

READ: ICE Has Released Their First Weekly List Of Crimes Committed By Undocumented People

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This Chicago Man Used His Wrongful Conviction Settlement Money to Open a Barber College With His Former Prison Guard

Things That Matter

This Chicago Man Used His Wrongful Conviction Settlement Money to Open a Barber College With His Former Prison Guard

Screenshot via YouTube

Some people are dealt a tough hand in life and, for whatever reason, aren’t able to cope with it. They might spiral into bad lifestyles choices or other unhelpful coping mechanisms. However, other people are able to rise above adversity. Like Juan Rivera, a man who spent 20 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.

After he was wrongly convicted of murder, 48-year-old Juan Rivera used his settlement money to open up a barber college with his former prison guard.

Juan Rivera went to jail for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker in 1992. Chicago police used unlawful psychological mind games over the course of a four-day interrogation to coerce Rivera to admitting to the crime. The Chicago police also destroyed DNA evidence and lied to the prosecution team. Juan Rivera spent 20 years in Stateville Correctional Center.

While he was in prison, Juan Rivera became friends with prison guard and barbershop coordinator, Bobby Mattison. Mattison knew that some prisoners just needed the right opportunities to make better life choices. After a lot of hard work, Mattison opened up the first licensed barber college in a maximum security prison. Rivera was one of his students.

“We lock them up well, but what do we do to help them get back on their feet?” Mattison told Block Club Chicago. “I see these guys coming in and out. I knew I wanted to do something to help them.

It was through Mattison that Rivera began to change his attitude and outlook on life. When Rivera left prison, the city of Chicago awarded him $20 million in a wrongful conviction suit. Rivera knew exactly what he was going to do with the settlement money: give back to his community.

Together, Rivera and Mattison founded Legacy Barber College. Legacy Barber College recruits students from inner-city Chicago who are in danger of getting caught up in a life of crime. The barber college partners with high schools, community colleges, and career day fairs to show kids that “they can find a good career even if college isn’t an option.”

“This started, believe it or not, in prison,” Juan Rivera said. “I saw a need. We want to help the less fortunate. Because once they get out, they usually have nothing to fall back on.”

Legacy Barber College’s 32 current enrollees are also college or high school students. At the school, students can earn their barber’s license, but they also learn “financial literacy, customer service and running a business.”

But Legacy Barber College’s services aren’t limited to teaching. They also, naturally, give haircuts. “We want the community to know it’s theirs, not mine,” Juan Rivera said. “We want people to feel welcome and comfortable taking their kids and family here.”

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Biden Nominates Texas Sheriff Ed Gonzalez To Lead ICE And Here’s Why That Matters

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Biden Nominates Texas Sheriff Ed Gonzalez To Lead ICE And Here’s Why That Matters

For years now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been enforcing cruel and, in many opinions, illegal immigration policies that have affected the most vulnerable among us. And they’ve been doing it without a permanent leader who can be held accountable.

The Trump administration relied on interim leaders and deputy secretaries to head the sprawling and powerful agency. Now, President Biden has nominated a frequent outspoken Trump critic to lead the agency and many are hopeful there could be real change.

The White House has nominated Texas sheriff Ed Gonzalez to lead ICE.

President Joe Biden has nominated a Texas sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, to lead ICE. Gonzalez has been the sheriff of Harris County (parts of Houston, TX) since 2017, leading the state’s largest sheriffs department. He has led a team of 5,000 employees in the position and previously served 18 years with the Houston Police Department, rising to the rank of sergeant, according to his profile on his office’s website.

Gonzalez has also been a vocal critic of elements of former President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement policies.

Gonzalez is the second such critic to be selected by Biden for a senior position in the Department of Homeland Security, following the nomination two weeks ago of Tucson, AZ., Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Gonzalez has long been a voice of reason within law enforcement leading many to be hopeful for change.

During his first term as sheriff Gonzalez ended a program with ICE that trained 10 Harris County deputies to determine the immigration status of prisoners, and hold for deportation those in the country illegally.

As sheriff he also opposed Texas legislation requiring local law enforcement to determine individuals’ immigration status, according to The Texas Tribune. The legislation was viewed as targeting so-called “sanctuary cities.” Gonzalez, like many in law enforcement, said the approach would destroy trust and make their job protecting communities more difficult.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised Biden’s pick in a statement Tuesday.

“Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is a strong choice for ICE Director,” Mayorkas said. “With a distinguished career in law enforcement and public service, Sheriff Gonzalez is well-suited to lead ICE as the agency advances our public safety and homeland security mission. I hope the Senate will swiftly confirm Sheriff Gonzalez to this critical position.”

ICE has long been missing a permanent director to lead the agency.

Gonzales would succeed Tae Johnson, who has been serving as acting ICE director since Jan. 13. He previously served as the agency’s deputy director.

ICE has not had a permanent director since 2017. The agency operated with five acting directors under the Trump administration. This comes as the Biden administration has faced challenges at the border, including a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S.

The announcement of Gonzalez’s nomination comes on the heels of another major announcement from DHS. Mayorkas also announced Tuesday that he has directed ICE and Customs and Border Protection to place new limits on civil immigration enforcement actions in or near courthouses.

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