In a rather interesting news story, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested and detained the mother and brother of immigrant rights activist Erika Andiola in Arizona just last week.
For those who don't know Andiola, she is a highly respected director for the DRM Action Coalition, "a focused political and lobbying voice" representing the undocumented youth of America.
According to sources, Andiola's mother and brother were arrested last Thursday evening in a sting in which plainclothes immigration agents arrived at the family home at night and only revealed their identities once the door was opened.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Andiola took to her Facebook page to describe what happened, a move that prompted a massive response internet response, including the gathering of thousands of online signatures and the mobilization of several immigrant advocacy groups.
The move might have proven to be helpful, as both her mother and brother were released from immigration detention the following day.
Andiola's mother, who had a standing deportation order in 1998, may have come onto the radar of ICE after she was arrested by local officials in September for multiple offenses, including lacking identification and driving without a license. At the time, both Andiola and her mother claimed the arrest was motivated by SB 1070, Arizona's controversial immigration detention law.
(The family's immigration attorney indicated that the 1998 deportation order was issued in connection with an incident in which Andiola's mother attempted to enter the country legally, but lacked the proper documentation.)
As for Andiola's brother, he was questioned by ICE officials at the family home and ultimately taken into custody. Despite his release, agents have opened a deportation case against him.
For its part, ICE defended its actions and released the following statement:
"Although one individual had been previously removed from the country, an initial review of these cases revealed that certain factors outlined in ICE's prosecutorial discretion policy appear to be present and merit an exercise of discretion," read the statement. "A fuller review of the cases is currently on-going."
Stay tuned for updates our Los Angeles County immigration law blog ...
If you are facing immigration detention or have already been detained on an immigration-related matter, an experienced lawyer can help ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
ABC News, "DREAM activist's family picked up by immigration authorities," Ted Hesson, Jan. 11, 2012