If you’re of Latin descent and live in the U.S. you’re probably illegal. That seems to be the ignorant mentality of some officials in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — and some in the White House, too. If you’re wondering why I would make such an outlandish claim, just look to the 1,500 people who have been wrongfully detained by ICE since 2012.
Of those thousands of people, how many of them have fought back, or demanded justice? One of those who was lucky enough to have representation is 60-year-old Guadalupe Plascencia of San Bernardino, California. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on her behalf after she was wrongfully detained by ICE on March 29, 2017.
Plascencia, a U.S. citizen for the past two decades, was detained by ICE after she was released from the West Valley Detention Center over a “decades-old bench warrant issued for her alleged failure to appear as a witness in a court case,” Think Progress reports.
Plascencia pleaded with ICE officials telling them she was a U.S. citizen, but they didn’t even request more information so they detained her. But her humiliation didn’t end there. The ACLU reports that “when Plascencia protested that she was a citizen, ICE agents mocked her.” They say that she was “detained by ICE for at least an hour and a half — part of that time in handcuffs and detained in a van — before she was finally allowed to contact her daughter who quickly arrived with her mother’s passport to prove citizenship.”
The ACLU fought for justice and were able to grant Plascencia a settlement agreement for San Bernardino County to pay $35,000 and the federal government to pay $20,000.
“The government should be held accountable when it violates people’s rights,” said ACLU Foundation of Southern California Staff Attorney Adrienna Wong. “San Bernardino County residents like Ms. Plascencia have the right to live, work, and raise their families in peace, without fear that ICE may unfairly arrest them without cause.”