For Immediate Release // Excuse Cross Posting //
September 2, 2016
Contact: Armando Carmona, firstname.lastname@example.org, (323) 250-3018
COURT LOWERS BOND OF IMMIGRANT GRANDMOTHER VICTIM OF ICE & LAPD GANG & RACIAL PROFILING
Despite Growing Community Support, ICE Still Refuses to Release Her or Stop Her Deportation, as Local Groups Announce Fundraiser to Get Her Out of Jail
Los Angeles – Yesterday, an immigration judge lowered to $5,000 the bond of Xochitl Hernandez, immigrant grandmother and L.A. resident who has been imprisoned at the private Adelanto Detention Center for six months and is at the center of the #FreeAbuelaXochitl campaign. Before yesterday, she had been held on a $60,000 bond following gang and racial profiling by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). ICE had opposed her release on bond.
Xochitl Hernandez is fighting for the right to remain with her five U.S. citizen children and four U.S. citizen grandchildren. In response to the move by the immigration judge, local community groups have pledged to raise the bond money necessary to get her out of jail.
“All I want is to be back with my family. I hope the judge’s decision means I will be able to return home soon,” said Xochitl Hernandez, from Adelanto Detention Center where she has been jailed for six months. “I have gained strength from all the support I have received. I hope you will continue to support me and my family in this difficult time so that I can come home.”
“My mother should never have been picked up. She never should have been in custody. She has lived in this city for 30 years, and she should be able to walk the streets without fear of being deported,” said Stephanie Hernandez, one of Ms. Hernandez’s five children. “Growing up with an immigrant parent, my fear was always that my mother could be deported at any time. I was devastated watching the cases of other immigrant families torn apart when a parent was deported. Living this nightmare, I have seen how cruel and inhumane the system is. My family and I have been fighting for her to get released, and we won’t stop now.”
“Unfortunately, it will still be a struggle for Xochitl’s family and community to find the money to get their mother out of Adelanto,” said Jordan Cunnings, a lawyer at Public Counsel representing Ms. Hernandez. “But the lowered bond amount at least makes clear that the ICE and LAPD claims about her are baseless. We will keep fighting.”
Ms. Hernandez has been imprisoned since February 24, when LAPD invited ICE agents to join them when they executed a search warrant and then transferred her to ICE custody. LAPD ultimately acknowledged that Ms. Hernandez was not the target of the LAPD warrant, was not charged with any crime, and was not even in its overbroad gang database.
“ICE has identified Xochitl as a deportation priority based entirely on false, attenuated, and racially-biased claims of gang association,” said Emi MacLean, an attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). “LAPD has contributed to every aspect of the tragedy through working with ICE to arrest her without any evidence of criminal activity, testifying in court with baseless speculation, and refusing to demand her release.”
“Ms. Hernandez’s case exemplifies the danger of mixing immigration and local law enforcement,” said Ana Muñiz, Assistant Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. “ICE and LAPD must be held accountable, and they must reverse this error and ensure this does not happen again.”
More than 100 organizations, along with elected officials, have called for ICE to release her and drop efforts to deport her. At Ms. Hernandez’ bond hearing, the court was packed with supporters. On Wednesday, Grammy Award winning band La Santa Cecilia performed a concert at Adelanto supporting her and demanding an end to the private immigration jail.