U.S. Citizen Awarded $55,000 After ICE Wrongfully Detained Her
A U.S. citizen of two decades has received a $55,000 settlement from the government after she was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to a ThinkProgress report.
The federal government and San Bernardino County will pay $55,000 to 60-year-old Guadalupe Plascencia, a hairdresser from San Bernardino, California.
The settlement, which was obtained with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, stemmed from a decade-old bench warrant related to her alleged failure to appear as a witness in a court case. San Bernardino police detained Plascencia overnight on March 29, 2017 and asked her to sign documents acknowledging that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had inquired about her, according to the L.A. Times.
Plascencia said she did as she was told because she was scared and confused. As she tried to leave the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga the next day, ICE agents handcuffed her and put in a van.
Though she had become a U.S. citizen 20 years earlier, following an amnesty program initiated by President Reagan, Plascencia said she feared she would be deported.
“I felt helpless, like I was no one,” she said in an intervie. “Here, they talk about rights … in that moment, I realized, we don’t have rights.”
ICE eventually released Plascencia after her daughter showed ICE agents her passport.
According to the ACLU, Plascencia had a California driver’s license and other paperwork proving her status as a legal citizen of the United States on her person at the time she was remanded into custody by the San Bernardino police.
“Her wrongful arrest and detention likely stemmed from the agents’ reliance on ICE’s electronic records, which are widely known to be incomplete and full of errors. Still, ICE and collaborating local law enforcement agencies have used them to target people for arrest — relying even on the absence of records or on records pertaining to completely different individuals with similar but common Latino names, as they did in this case,” according to the ACLU.
Under the settlement, San Bernardino County will pay Plascencia $35,000 and the federal government will be required to make restitution of $20,000.