Saturday, May 06, 2017

ICE agents raid youth shelter to arrest teen asylum seeker on his 18th birthday (gabe Ortiz) · Tuesday, May 02, 2017, 8:21 pm

A day after tweeting out that “Superheroes don't always wear capes. Happy #NationalSuperHeroDay to the men and women of ICE who protect and serve our nation everyday,” ICE agents raided a youth shelter to arrest, detain, and shackle a teen asylum seeker on his 18th birthday. Despite the fact that the youth is in good standing, has no criminal record, and would most likely have been released to family here in the U.S. under the Obama administration, ICE had previously informed advocates that he “would nonetheless be detained when he turned 18 and transferred to an adult detention facility.” On his birthday, they did just that. Just like Superman would do, right?

Erik Javier Flores Hernandez fled northern Mexico in late 2016 to escape his abusive father, as well as drug traffickers who abducted and killed his mother and grandmother, according to the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, an advocacy group providing Flores with legal representation.

The IDLC said Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained the teen on Saturday despite their client’s compliance with guidelines that would likely have allowed for his release from the Office of Refugee Resettlement custody at 18 under the Obama administration. Flores is currently being held at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange County.

Some immigration advocates fear his detainment is a precursor to more “cruel” and “shameful” immigration tactics toward children and teens under President Donald Trump’s administration.

“There’s nothing about this arrest that serves any rational policy in the United States government. Period,” said David Leopold, an immigration lawyer. “It’s cruel, baseless, mean-spirited, ugly ? it’s just wrong.”

Prior to Donald Trump, IDLC’s Lindsay Toczylowsk said, “if we had all of those things in place, unless there was some reason to believe that the child was a threat to the community or they were a flight risk, ICE would always release them on their own recognizance.” But as immigrant rights advocates have repeatedly noted, Trump’s unshackled deportation force has been creating and fomenting “fear and chaos” that goes well beyond the “bad hombres” and dangerous criminals that he and DHS Sec. John Kelly claim they are targeting.


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