Press Advisory for October 18
Contact: Armando Carmona, firstname.lastname@example.org, (323) 250-3018
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 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: