A 22-Year-Old Los Angeles DACA-Recipient Is Being Held In ICE Custody
A 22-year-old Los Angeles DACA-recipient has been detained by immigration authorities for more than ten days, according to his attorney. Jesus Alonso Arreola Robles, a Mexican-American North Hollywood resident who has been living and working in L.A. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, was detained on the morning of February 12, according to his attorney Joseph Porta, who held a press conference at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles on Thursday.
Arreola Robles' mother said that she had brought her son to Los Angeles from Mexico when he was 18 months old, and that the family had been living in North Hollywood since then. Both of Arreola-Robles' parents are legal permanent residents of the United States.
Porta said that he had been unable to reach or communicate with his client, and that as far as he knows, Arreola Robles has no criminal history or conviction records. Porta also said that, to the best of his knowledge, his client's DACA status was still intact. According to KPCC, Porta has renewed Arreola-Robles' DACA status twice.
U.S. Border Patrol's San Diego office issued a statement shortly after the press conference, confirming that they had indeed arrested Arreola Robles on the morning of the February 12, and alleging that Arreola Robles "was suspected of being involved in alien smuggling activity on State Route 94 in Campo, Calif., which is in close proximity to the U.S./Mexico border."
During the press conference, Porta said that he couldn't answer questions about how Arreola Robles had been apprehended because he still hadn't been able to speak to his client.
San Diego Border Patrol agent Mark Endicott told LAist that Arreola Robles had not actually been charged with alien smuggling, he was merely "suspected of being involved in alien smuggling activity, like the statement said."
Endicott told LAist that he couldn't discuss the specifics of the case, but that the location where Arreola Robles was detained "is a common area where people engage in smuggling activity by picking up people who had just crossed the border." Endicott was not able to answer questions about whether or not there are plans to file any criminal charges against Arreola Robles.
"He's been processed for removal proceedings... removal proceedings is an administrative process not a criminal proceeding," Endicott said.
"The biggest fault in the system here is that I'm trying to help an individual—I'm an attorney, he's in the United States, he has due process rights, he has a right to counsel, he has a right to be represented, I have a right to have access to my client. And all of that is being prevented by the fact that he's not showing up in the online detainee locator system. I haven't been able to get a live person on the phone that can actually tell me exactly where he is," Porta said during the press conference. "That's something I haven't seen in my entire career."
According to Border Patrol's statement, Arreola Robles was transferred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody on February 15, and he is currently being held in an ICE contract facility in Folkston, Georgia pending a hearing before an immigration judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. According to their statement, Border Patrol processed him for administrative removal proceedings and "it will be up to the judge to determine whether he has a legal basis to remain in the U.S."
Translating from Spanish for Arreola Robles' mother at the CHIRLA press conference, Porta said that "she is desperate to see him."
According to his mother, Arreola Robles is a high school graduate. "He was in college for a bit, but it was difficult due to financial constraints, and he began working. Presently, he's employed at a hotel here in Los Angeles, where he legally works alongside his father. They both cook," Porta said, translating for Arreola Robles' mother.
"She wants to be reunited with her son, and as a loving mother she is very worried because her son is a good kid and she is really unsure of why all this is happening," Porta said.