Press Advisory for October 18
Abuela Xochitl Files Civil Rights Complaint against LAPD and Department of Homeland Security
Immigrant Grandmother Jailed for 6 Months as a Result of Racial Profiling Files Civil Rights Complaints with Department of Homeland Security and LAPD
Abuela Xochitl Hernandez Calls on DHS to Close Her Deportation Case
Who: Xochitl Hernandez, her attorney, and community members
What: Xochitl Hernandez and her lawyer will issue brief statements and deliver complaints to DHS and LAPD
Where: ICE Office, 300 North Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles
When: Tuesday October 18, 2016 at 10:00am
***Press Statements will be given prior to delivery of complaint
Los Angeles, CA – On Tuesday, “Abuela” Xochitl Hernandez will file two complaints challenging gang and racial profiling by ICE and LAPD. A February 2016 arrest by LAPD resulted in Ms. Hernandez’ prolonged detention and designation as a top deportation priority by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The complaints, directed to the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS CRCL) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), call for an end to Ms. Hernandez’ deportation proceedings, accountability for the actions which led to Ms. Hernandez’ arrest and detention, and policy reforms.
“I am afraid that ICE or the police will show up at my house and take me away at any moment. I am no longer in jail, but until ICE closes my deportation case, I will continue to feel imprisoned in my own home,” said Xochitl Hernandez. “I want my case to be closed, but I also want to make sure this does not happen to anyone else. If the police and ICE can say that I should be deported just for living in a community with a gang presence, they can say that about any immigrant living in Los Angeles. That is not right.”
LAPD and ICE agents took Ms. Hernandez into custody on February 24 for being in an East Hollywood house the police raided looking for a robbery suspect. She was neither a suspect nor charged with any crime and LAPD acknowledged she is not even in its overbroad gang database. Nonetheless, LAPD arrested her and transported her to Rampart Police Station—on account of her immigration status alone; ICE then transferred her to immigration detention.
“ICE has identified Ms. Hernandez as a deportation priority based on false and racially-biased claims of gang association,” said Emi MacLean, an attorney for Ms. Hernandez, who works with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). “ICE’s claims in this case are not just discriminatory and wrong; they are also potentially limitless—any immigrant would be a top priority for deportation just for interacting with someone who the police allege to be a gang member.”
The complaints assert that “the arrest and jailing of Ms. Hernandez carries with it the hallmarks of discriminatory racial and gang profiling and raises constitutional and legal concerns.” They further assert that DHS and LAPD “violated [their] own policies” in arresting and detaining Ms. Hernandez and targeting her as a top deportation priority.
“LAPD and ICE should now act to remedy the wrong done to Ms. Hernandez and ensure that it does not happen again—to her or anyone else,” said Carol Park, a law student at the UC-Irvine Immigrant Rights Clinic who was involved in drafting the complaints.
Ms. Hernandez will be joined by other victims of joint ICE-LAPD operations allegedly targeting gang activity.
Guillermo Felix, a father of four, is currently facing deportation following a November 2015 raid of a house party in South Central Los Angeles. “I want to be able to stay in Los Angeles, the one home I have known since I was an adolescent. I need to be a present and reliable husband to my wife and father to my children,” said Guillermo Felix, who like Ms. Hernandez was placed in deportation proceedings because of his immigration status alone. “I ask ICE to close my case and let my family live in peace.”
Longstanding policy prohibits LAPD from engaging in police actions targeting immigrants for their immigration status alone. DHS policy provides that the agency should grant prosecutorial discretion in a case such as Ms. Hernandez’ – where she is a domestic violence survivor and should not be considered a deportation priority.
Last month, Ms. Hernandez was released on bond but she continues to be a deportation priority and subjected to electronic monitoring. ICE has refused to close her deportation case.
Congress Member Lucille Roybal Allard, City Council Member Gil Cedillo, and more than 100 organizations have called for ICE to drop efforts to deport her. A petition to #FreeAbuelaXochitl and stop her deportation is here. A petition to stop Guillermo Felix’s deportation is here.
On Tuesday October 18th at around 11:00am Xochitl Hernadez filed complaints to both LAPD and ICE. Both documents can be found in the links below:
Day laborers pledge to continue fight against discriminatory law at community level, Look to California for Alternate Direction
Link to recording of today's call: http://ndlon.org/docs/2011arpaio.mp3
Phoenix, AZ- Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice released a scathing report, confirming the “discriminatory policing practices” that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has used to terrorize the Latino community of Maricopa County for years and prompting the Department of Homeland Security to terminate the Sheriff’s 287(g) agreement and restrict his access to the controversial S-Comm program,
On a press call today, national and local leaders reacted to the reports findings, commending the investigation as a step towards serving the Latino community with the justice they so long deserve.
DOJ's announcement is no surprise to the Latino community. Arpaio has a long history of extreme enforcement tactics and discriminatory behavior. Mary Rose Wilcox, Maricopa County Supervisor, saw firsthand the type of suffering in the Latino community inflicted by Arpaio's abusive practices. "A line in the report that stands out above others is that for the past four years, the Sheriff's department has treated all Latinos as if they were undocumented. It is a sobering statement that shows how the Sheriff used anti-immigrant sentiment as a pretext to violate the civil rights of our County's residents. For three years our community has pounded the doors of elected officials to let them know this must stop. My dream is for Sheriff Arpaio to resign or be kicked out of office and for his office to be taken into receivership. Still, we feel relief today because the truth has been told about this Sheriff in a manner that cannot be denied."
Speakers also lifted up Arpaio's case as an example of the disastrous consequences of DHS policies that trample on the rights of entire communities.
Salvador Reza, Phoenix Civil Rights Leader whose wrongful arrest was cited in the DOJ report, explained, "We are happy to see Janet Napolitano's actions yesterday but I'd like to caution that it's not over. The longer Arpaio is not under receivership or indicted, the longer this will continue as a political football locally and nationally. This should be a wakeup call to DHS and for Sheriffs across the country who are using federal immigration programs to emulate Arpaio."
Randy Parraz, Co-Founder, President of Citizens for a Better Arizona, added, "Yesterday's report by the DOJ validates many of the abusive practices and policies that we have been experiencing as Latinos and critics of Sheriff Arpaio. We, Citizens for a Better Arizona, will continue to organize across the county to create the pressure needed to force Sheriff Arpaio to resign."
According to Arturo Venegas, Director of the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, "Every day that Arpaio focused on terrorizing immigrant and Latino communities while serious criminals roamed the streets of Maricopa County made other law enforcement officials’ jobs harder across the nation. The Department of Homeland Security should be commended for limiting its cooperation with Arpaio, but until the racial profiling and aggressive tactics he championed are no longer encouraged by state laws like Alabama’s or tacitly condoned by federal programs like Secure Communities, we have not yet eradicated his legacy of fear. Unfortunately, Arpaio has flaunted his unconstitutional tactics with such vigor that, nothing short of a federal consent decree will get him to comply DOJ requests and change his behavior.”
According to Sarahi Uribe, National Campaign Coordinator, National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network, "The DOJ report is what compelled the Department of Homeland Security to do what it should have done on former Arizona Governor Napolitano's first day on the job as head of DHS. It stripped him of his badge when it comes to immigration enforcement. Now we should learn the lessons from Arizona and deal not just with this Sheriff but with the implications of this report on a national level."