ICE arrests a nurse with permanent residence for crimes committed years ago

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LOS ANGELES, California.- Immigration officers and customs (ICE) entered a medical clinic in East Los Angeles on October 4 and asked to speak with the nurse Rebeca Aguilar Méndez. When he left, one of the officers approached her to ask about her immigration status. She assured her that she was a permanent resident, but that statement did not stop her from being detained and then transferred to the immigration detention center in Adelanto.

"They did not tell her why they were holding her" says Johanna Sedano, daughter of Aguilar Méndez, in an interview with Univision Noticias. "The agent asked if he had the documents and he said yes, then asked if it was Rebecca, and he said," Yes, "then the officer said:" 39; Oh, you're inmate, "he said.

The family of this Mexican is still trying to understand why it was held at the ICE green card since the '80s, who was able to renew twice without a setback. The last renewal was carried out six years ago and the validity of the document currently in use is until 2022.

"She made her fingerprints and never told her anything," her daughter asked about the process of registering fingerprints with the Citizenship and Naturalization Service (USCIS). "We call the ICE and they do not answer us, my mother was not shown a document saying why she is detained", she bets distressed.

What his relatives believe is that the arrest of Aguilar Méndez is due to "minor crimes" that he committed about 15 years ago. Although they do not provide details on such defects, they consider " unfair " that now faces a deportation process. "He paid his sentence, he does not deserve it, he's doing all right to keep his family together," explained Sedano.

The ICE, however, states that the criminal record of this woman has put the spotlight of the immigration agency. "The databases reveal it the multiple criminal convictions Ms. Aguilar Méndez makes her likely to be expelled from the United States, "said her spokeswoman Lori Halley, who said that due to her privacy policy she was unable to describe the inmate's faults.

"Ms. Aguilar Méndez is currently in custody of the ICE awaiting a deportation process, in which an immigration judge of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) will determine whether or not has a legal basis or not to stay in the United States, "added Halley.

The agency details that permanent residents can be expelled from the United States for different reasons and regardless of when they were legally in this country. Some of these cases are committing a serious crime, have been convicted of several minor crimes or are in legal trouble during the first five years after receiving the green card

The final decision on the removal of a person is entrusted to an immigration judge, said the ECI.

After the arrival of Donald Trump at the White House in January 2017, the government launched the zero tolerance policy, which, among other measures, includes research, capture and deportation of undocumented migrants, as well as permanent legal residents with a criminal record. making them inadmissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (INA).

According to Univision Noticias Immigration Director, Jorge Cancino, previous governments have not sought in their databases of inadmissible permanent legal residents to become citizens for errors committed if they do not appear in the system for the commission of new crimes. "But now Immigration and Customs Taxation have a unit that examines databases looking for foreign permanent legal residents to arrest them and start a trial and ask a judge to remove their green card or green card. "

Once the prosecutors reach their goal, the foreigner is at the discretion of the ICE to be deported from the country.

The lawyers consulted by Univision Noticias inform that, in the event that a legal resident has a criminal record in their registry, however low it may be, ask for legal advice to study the options and prepare a plan in case they are arrested by the lawyer. ; ICE and vice versa. a process to withdraw their residence and be expelled from the United States.

"They treat her like a criminal"

Aguilar Méndez was born in Mexico 46 years ago and has spent most of his life in the United States. It was legalized through the Immigration Amnesty that was granted by the Ronald Reagan government in the mid-1980s. She has been a nurse for 25 years. She is the mother of six children, between 18 and 31, and the grandmother of eight grandchildren.

"He is the only person we have: we do not have my father, my mother is all for us, he keeps us together, his grandchildren are the most affected, my children cry every night asking where he is, my brother does not want to talk to anyone "confessed his daughter.

His mother, he said, is supporting the family and the meetings at his home in East Los Angeles are common on the weekends. But in the last days her children have had to visit her in the ICE prison in Adelanto, where instead of her nurse uniform, she wears an orange uniform, which the central authorities give to the inmates for not serious or violent crimes.

"They treat her like a criminal when it is not. It struck me to see her, I'm devastated. I cried, "Celery described the envelope the first time he saw it behind bars.

This 28-year-old woman states that the situation has depressed her and now she sleeps, eats and speaks little. "It's something that we did not imagine what would happen to us that we have only seen in the news, "he warns and adds that his mother is paying the consequences of the harsh migration policies of the current federal government.

Describes his mother as a woman who does not hesitate to help others. He says an example to confirm it: a year ago he helped a child of a neighbor who stopped breathing at home. "My mother gave her CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), revived the girl and waited until the arrival of the ambulance, did not separate from them".

"He has a big heart, he takes the bread out of his mouth to give it to someone," he said.

The Aguilar family has opened a GoFundMe account to raise funds with which they can pay the deposit and legal fees that represent them.

In the photos: the step by step of an ICE detention in the state with the most undocumented in the United States

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