On Tuesday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on the behalf of Guadalupe Plascencia, a 60-year-old San Bernardino grandmother, who claims that she was jailed and detained by ICE in March despite the fact that she is a U.S. citizen.
According to Plascencia, she had gone to the Ontario Police Department to pick up her gun (for which she had a permit) after it was retrived by the police following a car accident. This is what the lawsuit states happened next:
Instead of walking out with her things, however, Ms. Plascencia found herself under arrest. To her shock and dismay, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department took her into custody and handed her over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents that arrested, handcuffed, and detained her – even though Ms. Plascencia repeatedly told both county and federal officers that she is an American citizen and offered to provide documents showing this to be true.
Plascencia was arrested on a decade-old warrant for failing to show up as a witness in a court case, and spent the night in jail. She then spent the next day in ICE custody, afraid that she might be deported despite having lived in San Bernardino for nearly four decades. According to the Los Angeles Times, Plascencia claims that ICE officers mocked her while she was in custody and told her that “You’re no one, until your situation is cleared up.” Plascencia was eventually released when her daughter brought ICE agents her passport.
Ms. Plascencia’s ordeal was entirely preventable if officers had taken a moment to properly investigate her citizenship and listen to her repeated pleas that she was a lawful U.S. citizen. Rather, Ms. Plascencia, a mother of five, a grandmother of 16, and a business owner, was made to feel that she did not belong in her own country. This lawsuit seeks to protect Ms. Plascencia’s right to live in this country without fear of being unlawfully detained.”
Trump’s administration has made it perfectly clear that for any immigrant, at any time, their place in this country is conditional.
We have contacted ICE and the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department for comment and will update if we hear back.
Update: 3:39 PM: ICE responded to my request for comment by saying it would not talk about pending litigation