Blog of Rights

Rebecca T.
Wallace
Claudia Valdez and her kids

The Terrible Toll of ICE Detainers

By Rebecca T. Wallace, ACLU of Colorado & John Krieger, Communications and Outreach Director, ACLU of Colorado at 10:41am
On the evening of June 28, 2012, Claudia Valdez called the police for help. An argument with her husband at the time had turned physical and she feared for her safety and that of her three young children. She ran to her neighbor’s house with her kids in tow and asked for help. Police arrived and ended up arresting Claudia, who is an undocumented immigrant, on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge which was dismissed soon after. The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, however, refused to release Claudia. Instead, she was kept in jail because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, had requested that the sheriff hold Claudia in detention while it investigated her immigration status.    The sheriff’s office, like most others in Colorado at the time, chose to comply with the federal government’s request, imprisoning Claudia for three additional days without a warrant and without probable cause. Those were three anguished days for Claudia who had never had a run-in with the law apart from minor traffic offenses, and who never dreamed that calling the police for help would land her in a cold jail cell apart from her children. Still, years after the incident she does not believe she can trust the police.
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