Woman in Immigration Custody after Domestic Violence Call
A woman from Colorado, who called for police help in a domestic violence incident, said she had turned over to agents from immigration and held for close to two weeks.
The case of Virginia Urtusuastegui is just one of at least three the American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado said it documented in Garfield County, in which thought to be illegal immigrants, who had been victims of a domestic violence incident had been arrested and reported inadvertently to Immigration and Customs Enforcement after asking for police help.
On Wednesday, Rebecca Wallace of the ACLU said the cases have exposed the problems with the state law from 2006 that requires law enforcement to report any suspected undocumented individuals to ICE, when they do jail time.
The law has a provision that excludes domestic violence victims because sometimes victims are arrested inadvertently when police cannot determine the victim from the perpetrator. However, the ACLU said that not holding off until there is a conviction in these cases before reporting them to immigration could subject the victim to face deportation proceedings.
In Urtusuastegui’s case, the ACLU says that is exactly what took place. The advocates group has sent Lou Vallario the Sheriff in Garfield County a letter requesting he change the current policy of his agency.
The Sheriff says that the allegations by ACLU are an attempt to undermine the relationship his department has with ICE. He also said he would not be intimidated or bullied into what the group says is most appropriate.
He said he does not report domestic violence victims to immigration officials. He follows how the law is written and will not change his method of reporting the suspected undocumented individuals when they enter jail. He said he is sympathetic to all crime victims, no matter what their status is with immigration.