More than twenty undocumented persons without serious crimes have been transferred by the local police; ACLU files a claim

José Maldonado was arrested last July 15 in a restaurant in Huntington Park by the police of that city, and after keeping him detained for a day he was handed over to the Migration and Customs Service (ICE), who held him for 46 days.

His arrest led the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU Socal) to file an administrative claim against the city of Huntington Park for violar the Sanctuary Law (SB54). This law prohibits the cooperation of local police in California with ICE.

Maldonado managed to regain his freedom after paying bail, but by the actions of the Huntington Park police, now sand faces a deportation process and the possibility of being separated from his family.

ACLU found that at least 29 undocumented immigrants have been handed over by the Huntington Park police to ICE in the past two years, according to records obtained by the organization.

“We have made an administrative complaint and Huntington Park has 45 days to respond. We still haven't had an answer, ”said ACLU attorney Li Chia.

And he regretted that the Huntington Park police have put Maldonado at risk of deportation, a father of three children aged 24 and 14, born in the US, who has been in the country for more than 22 years, and earns a living in construction "This is not good. “How is it possible that you cannot trust the police in your own city?” Said lawyer Chia.

Maldonado said the arrest was not expected since he has never been prosecuted for any crime. He was arrested after he was taken out of a restaurant by his security agents, and when he tried to re-enter to meet his friends, they called the police and took him away.

“I am making this claim because I want what happened to me not to happen to other families. I want the city of Huntington Park to comply with the law and stop working with ICE. I want them to take responsibility for what they have done to me and my family, ”he said.

Karina Macías, mayor of Huntington Park. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

They launch research

The chief of the City of Huntington Park police, Cosme Lozano said they have launched an immediate investigation into the claims made by ACLU, as they firmly adhere to the Sanctuary Law policies.

As an immigrant, he said that he fully respects the rights of immigrants, and maintains a broad policy in accordance with the Sanctuary Law. "The Police Department fully adheres to these law protections," he said.

However, he showed that he regrets the situation they are in, and they have been investigating.

"We will continue with transparency and improve our internal controls to ensure adherence of the Sanctuary law to department policies," he noted.

For now, external who can not comment on the details of the internal investigation. But he advanced that dThe jail employees have been placed on a paid administrative permit.

"I will continue to work closely with our City leaders and community members to ensure that trust and mutual respect continue," he added.

Los Angeles Assemblyman Miguel Santiago asks for respect for immigrants and the Sanctuary law. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion)

Concern among councilors

Karina Macías, mayor of Huntington Park, said the ACLU complaint alleging that the police violated the Sanctuary Law is extremely worrying for her and the City.

“First I want to remind the community that they are safe. Our police chief are taking this situation seriously to continue working together and keep the city safe, ”he said.

He noted that if during the course of the investigation it is discovered that members of the Police Department violated the Sanctuary Law, strict and immediate measures will be taken.

“I want to remember that our Sanctuary policies are stronger now than before. In 2015 during my first term as mayor, I created a policy so that residents could serve on city commissions regardless of their status, and the city stood firm to defend them, ”he said.

He recalled that that is why she and two other councilors received numerous threats and harassment.

"I mention this as a reminder of the policies we have defended as children of immigrants, and because we value everything they do," he said.

He said that ACLU's complaint is not being taken lightly, and if the law was not implemented, it must be investigated and changed. The police chief is open to investigate, and technically has to take action. If something happened with the employees, you have to let us know. ”

In addition, he added that "what happened is unfortunate, but it is something that can be corrected in the city, and the police chief understands it and knows the importance of working with the community for trust."

Senate President Emeritus Kevin de Leon said he would hope that the Sanctuary Act would have been violated by Huntington Beach, but not a city of immigrants like Huntington Park in Los Angeles County. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

Await justice

Assemblyman Miguel Santiago said they want to ensure that immigrants are not attacked by their own city police.

‘We expect extensive research, and justice is done. Our strong message to all police departments and municipalities in California is respectful of immigrants, to SB54, and we also want to tell you that we don't coordinate with Donald Trump in his attack and hate towards this community"He emphasized.

"We fight very hard for the Sanctuary Law to pass, and we will not allow it to be violated here, and nowhere in the state of California, and where the police are questioned, we will be there to ensure that immigrants are protected." he remarked.

Senate President Emeritus Kevin de León, author of the Sanctuary Law, recalled that he made such legislation to protect undocumented working families, and so that the police do not cooperate with migration, and detain people who have not committed any felony.

"The Securities Act (Sanctuary Law) is the law in California, whether or not the local police want it. I want to emphasize that we are not going to allow any local government to violate its mandates, ”he said.

“We live in critical moments in which the rights of immigrants are being attacked as never before in recent history. The arrests of immigrants by the Huntington Park police and their illegal transfer not only violates the law, devastates families and communities, ”he said.

And he went further: “Let it be very clear, we are going to defend working families whose only crime is to cross the border to work and earn their money with the sweat of their forehead. They are not criminals with major crimes! ”He exclaimed.

It's not the first time

In August 2018, Brian Cerano Pulino was arrested by Huntington Park police and handed over to ICE for the misdemeanor of urinating on public roads.

Michelle Garcia, his wife, who accompanied him, said that the arrest and surrender to migration was an act of racism and a violation of the California Sanctuary Law.


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