[UPDATED with ICE Suspending Deportation:] Isaura Garcia, Battered Woman Facing Deportation, Embodies Problems with ICE Program

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UPDATE, MAY 13, 5:26 P.M.: The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has informed the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) that it is dropping deportation proceedings against Isaura Garcia.

Meanwhile, Joseph Huprich, the woman's pro bono attorney, says Garcia has received police approval for a U visa reserved for immigrant crime victims, which will next be presented to federal immigration officials.

Despite the victories in this case, CHIRLA and the ACLU are still calling on President Barack Obama to suspend the Secure Communities program.

Executive Director Hector Villagra of the ACLU of Southern California issued the following statement:

"We applaud ICE's decision to seek termination of the removal proceedings against Isaura Garcia, a domestic violence victim, identified through the Secure Communities program for removal.  Isaura should never have been placed in deportation proceedings as a result of her call to 9-1-1; ICE's commitment to terminate her case recognizes that fact. 

"We remain concerned, however, about the many other women like Isaura who are victims of crimes but swept up in the deportation dragnet of Secure Communities. We hope that ICE will take meaningful steps to ensure that Secure Communities will be limited to its stated purpose of removing dangerous criminals, not people, like Isaura, who are victims of crime."

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Hector Villagra, ACLU-SC executive director
UPDATE, MAY 12, 3:30 P.M.: After her boyfriend violently threw Isaura Garcia out of her LA-area apartment on Feb. 6, she dialed 9-1-1.

And that's when her nightmare really began, according to the account presented at the American Civil Liberties Union's Southern California office this morning.

Although Garcia was the victim of "severe, ongoing domestic violence with a history of 9-1-1 calls and emergency-room visits," she was arrested by LAPD officers who believed her boyfriend's version of the events, according to immigration lawyers and other experts monitoring her case.

Being arrested caused Garcia to faint, so the cops took her to a local hospital, where a doctor found bruises on her body and had to tell police she was a victim of domestic violence. The LAPD went ahead and held her on a felony domestic violence charge, resulting in her being identified by immigration authorities at the time of her booking. 

Police later dropped the felony charge, but Garcia was still transferred by immigration authorities within four days and placed in deportation proceedings. 

On March 26, her boyfriend was arrested on manslaughter charges and remains in custody, according to the ACLU-SC.

"The dangerous message that Isaura's case sends to immigrants who are victims or witnesses to crimes is that if you call the police, you might be deported," Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said during this morning's press conference.

Garcia was snared thanks to Secure Communities, the Department of Homeland Security program that requires local police departments to share the fingerprints of arrestees with immigration authorities. While the intention of the program is to identify and deport criminal aliens, in practice it has not always worked out that way for Garcia and other non-criminals, according to Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU-SC. "Secure Communities ends up providing security to criminals, including perpetrators of domestic violence," he said today. "This couldn't possibly make our communities more secure."

Garcia echoed those sentiments to those gathered before her. "I still don't understand why I was arrested," she said, "but had I realized I could be arrested after calling 9-1-1 for help and deported, I never would have called."

Those present called for adoption of a state Assembly bill that would protect immigrant crime victims and witnesses from Secure Communities. Illinois has announced its desire to opt out of the federal program, while San Francisco Police Chief Michael Hennessy recently revealed his department will not turn over non-criminals and low-level offenders to immigration authorities identified through Secure Communities.

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ORIGINAL POST, MAY 11, 12:03 P.M.: According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), its Secure Communities program "improves public safety every day by transforming the way criminal aliens are identified and removed from the United States."

It's certainly transforming the way at least one woman was identified as a criminal. Isaura Garcia is now embroiled in deportation proceedings after landing on the Secure Communities radar.

Her "crime"? Reporting to cops the domestic violence she was suffering.

Secure Communities was foisted on us to deport criminals by cross-checking immigration and law-enforcement databases and prioritizing which detainees pose the greatest threat, according to the ICE page for the program.

Civil libertarians are now using Garcia's saga to point to chinks in the feds' armor.

"Although the Secure Communities program purports to target 'criminal aliens,' the case of Isaura Garcia demonstrates that the opposite is true," reads a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU-SC). "Crime victims and non-criminals are affected by the program in great numbers."

At a press conference in Los Angeles Thursday, critics of Secure Communities will argue the program has led to widespread fear among immigrants, who believe if they witness or are victims of a crime and report it to police, they will be deported. Just like Isaura Garcia.

Among those scheduled to speak are:  Hector Villagra, executive director of ACLU-SC; Jennie Pasquarella of ACLU-SC; Angelica Salas of the Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles; and Chris Newman of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network.

Expect to hear support for California Assembly Bill 1081 currently winding through the state Legislature. The so-called TRUST Act aims to lessen the effects of Secure Communities on public safety. Argues the ACLU-SC, "We must give our police the opportunity to promote true public safety."

Sounds just like the original point of Secure Communities.

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95 comments
True story
True story

A crime can be "criminal" or "civil" but it's still a crime. This alien is a law-breaker who has violated a number of statutes and has been deported three times in the past. She's a rotten apple. Too bad the ACLU loves criminals.

Deport her
Deport her

She's been deported three times already. She's a serious offender who has destroyed peoples's lives.

Yes
Yes

 Good point. That's why we have to remove all illegal aliens from the country asap.

HTH
HTH

OMG, man. Seriously? ICE can cancel anyone's deportation. She was deported THREE TIMES, and she entered illegally. It's not your fault that the writers of this paper refuse to give all the facts, but the fact is she's an illegal alien.

Hilarious
Hilarious

From what country could Columbus have acquired a visa? You're a little confused about history, society, law, and pretty much everything else.

Incomplete 5 W's
Incomplete 5 W's

She's been deported THREE TIMES! How long of a criminal rap sheet does this criminal have? Lord knows that an illegal alien has to commit a lot of crimes to actually be deported, so WHAT DID SHE DO? How many victims has Ms. Garcia created? How many lives has she destroyed? And people want to keep her here?

Fed Up
Fed Up

Am I missing something here?  No one deserves to be beaten, but she is not supposed to be here. My husband and I PAID in time, money, paperwork and emotions for him to become legal in the US. My mother's family—all Mexicans—came here legally. None of us are wealthy. I'm sick of these bleeding-heart stories, OC Weekly.

Rizz
Rizz

Nowhere in the article does it state that she was an ILLEGAL immigrant.  What it does say is that AFTER being charged with a felony she was identified for deportation.  With that said, a reasonable person could deduce that she was here legally, but being charged with a felony is cause for cancelling a visa.

Sandy
Sandy

The commentary I've read here proves Neanderthal males still exist.  

Headdesks
Headdesks

 Cops believed the boyfriend? NOOOOOOO say it isn't so!!! Lets arrest the woman because why? The man said it's all lies and roses and puppy dogs and look at me I'm male why would I ever do something like this to a woman. Look see here, I have this ittsy bitty teeny scratch that could have been caused by the sharp edge of the desk when I swung at her but it's really her fault because I had to bring my arm back to far so that when I swung at her to break her nose my arm was a scratched. Arrest her I'm the victim here despite the fact that she has a dozen or so bruises and her arm is now bending the other way, look at my itty bitty scratch. 

I Want to take both men abuse women and cops that don't believe the woman out back for a few rounds of batting practice. I'll supply the bat since they'll have the balls. 

Ihateusc
Ihateusc

we all know this stupid cow is going to drop another litter of gang banging pendejos for us taxpayers to support... deport her and sterilize any cholas over the age of 18 

Guest
Guest

The thing that really bugs me is that there are no groups to represent the interests of US citizens.

Joseph
Joseph

 Why is the debate always about whether you have proper paperwork?  Why isn't the debate about making sure that our immigration system promotes making our country stronger, safer and the best one in the world?  The immigration debate often boils down to wanting to deport poor Hispanics, rather than focusing on who is actually best for our country.  I would take a poor Mexican over a 911 hijacker (who came legally) any day.

Hardcorestudboy
Hardcorestudboy

 What's the controversy here? Aren't illegal aliens by definition deportable entities? Isaura should be back in her home country where she will find all of the support of her loved ones and not have to worry about communicating with law-enforcement agencies. Please deport Isaura without further delay!

bigriggs
bigriggs

If she weren't an illegal, none of this would have happened. 

Ari
Ari

As reported at http://www.scpr.org/news/2011/... Garcia was a "person of interest" because she had been deported previously.  HOWEVER: The issue at stake in the piece above is not whether illegal immigrants (particularly repeat offenders) should be deported, but whether the Secure Communities program is functioning as intended.  When the program was proposed, we were promised that it would focus on violent criminals.  No matter how one feels about repeat illegal entry into the United States (which is indeed a crime), it can hardly be characterized as violent, in and of itself.

San Francisco is pledging to treat the program as it was presented, focusing on bringing violent offenders to the attention of Immigration services, rather than focusing on victims and non-violent offenders.  You may argue that Immigrations should be going after any illegal immigrants, and sure, ok, but not with the money allocated for Secure Communities.  It's either flagrant misuse or the program was misrepresented when funding was sought.

Isaura Garcia didn't do anything to make my community less secure, and like it or not, illegal immigrants are among us and are a part of our communities; creating an environment where we prosecute and punish immigrants over actual violent offenders actually makes things much less safe for everyone.

SuperNiceGuy
SuperNiceGuy

Reading the comments here makes it clear that as bad as San Diego is, Orange County is even worse.

I've been to Orange County, and I'm not sure what you're worried will be ruined by Mexican people. Your wonderful acres of strip malls? Your soul-crushing collection of crappy chain restaurants? Your lack of anything at all resembling culture? 

Orange County: a great place to drive through on your way to LA.

ACLUsucks
ACLUsucks

And your responses to it show me what a stupid cunt you are. So STFU. Biatch. 

Guest
Guest

All I'm saying it that the cops who say both parties' injuries and took the statements probably have a better idea of what happened than we do, especially with the 'A'CLU trying to portray this woman in the best light possible. 

Guest
Guest

Dude, where you there? They cops saw the injuries, they probably know better than you, who are getting your information filtered through the 'spin' of the Latino ethnic activists. 

Scrubhugger
Scrubhugger

Adolf Hitler had the same idea. perhaps you should be sent back to Germany in the 1930s.

Sandy
Sandy

The ACLU exists to support the interests of the US citizens...but most of you commenting here give that no respect, proving your own lack of support for US citizens. Let your rights to being human be deleted, eh? Actually, I am unsure of your humanity in view of your commentary.

Guest
Guest

Actually, the 9/11 people didn't come legally, because you have to truthfully state your purpose when entering the US. I doubt they said they were here to blow stuff up. In addition at least one of the teams (in Virginia) obtained false documents from a Salvadoran -- so 9/11 has a connection with 'typical' illegal immigration.

The wider point is that poor Mexicans don't make the country stronger -- they cost us money, lower wages for our own working class, crowd schools, increase traffic etc etc. 

Guest
Guest

There should be no controversy, but it was probably wise for ICE to beat a tactical retreat in this case.

Ari
Ari

 That's right.  If she'd stayed in her native country, her boyfriend would have been beating up an American girl.  And if the American girl had been arrested rather than the abusive boyfriend, creating a fear that reporting abuse to the police will actually decrease personal and community safety, well, that would be a problem too.

Guest
Guest

(1)Garcia is violent, the altercation with her 'boyfriend' was a violent altercation on both sides.

(2) While Secure Communities may have the primary purpose of 'removing violent felons' , the authorities can hardly be expected to ignore violations of immigration law once they have been identified. As it is, the LA Times has reported that 70% of those deported under Secure communities have been convicted of violent crimes. The 30% get caught up in the dragnet are just SOL. A government program batting .700 is doing pretty well.

(3) You might have seen "Christmas Story". Its director Bob Clark and his son were  killed by a 'non-violent' illegal immigrant who had come into contact with the  'justice' system, and was in fact convicted of the non-violent crime of soliciting a prostitute. Not deporting the illegal bred  simply shows contempt for our laws, and led directly to the death of two Americans.

ACLUsucks
ACLUsucks

You make some very good points. But I still think illegal aliens that are identified should be deported. If she isn't an illegal alien, then she should be allowed to stay.  

Guest
Guest

That's funny, I feel the same way about LA -- a big blotch of brown sh*t between civilation to its north and south.

ACLUsucks
ACLUsucks

Do us all a favor. stay out of OC. Don't come here. EVER. Stay in SD and continue to be overrun by illegal aliens. Better yet, move to SF where they not only allow criminals to run freely, they encourage it by proudly being a sanctuary city.

Dvjake
Dvjake

You are horribly disrespectful and far less intelligent than you seem to want to appear. Too bad we can't deport people like you. 

Headdesks
Headdesks

   Gee, did I mention anything about ethnicity? Nope. You on the other hand appear to be a racist. First thing you jump on about my comment is that it's a 'spin of the Latino ethnic activists' not that 'its about how abused women are treated by the cops'.   My comment was purely from the standpoint of how an untold number of battered women are being treated by cops. Shit like this where the woman is deemed to be 'confused', 'overacting' or just 'emotional' and therefor is the guilty party happens time and again. While the man is given a slap on the wrist. Does not matter what fucking their skin color is women are still beaten by inferior men. Are you yourself someone who thinks that all women should be beaten?     If you had read the article you'd note that the BF was later arrested on manslaughter charges. Charming fellow that one. Do you still think that she was lying or do you only care about the fact that she does not share the same skin color as you do?    No, I was not there. The(y) cops had seen the injuries and chose to ignore them. Thus bringing on this STUPID problem that should have occurred in the first place. From what I know of immigration law as I've helped a newly married people file and figure out the paperwork. If the womans abused and gets a divorce she does not get deported. Funny thing about that bit of law...it does not list race.. like you do.   Now if she's not here legally, I still would not deport her why? Because she's a human being and should not live in fear of her attacker or the police. In fact if they had not arrested her and arrested the BF like they should have this would be a completely different story wouldn't it?

Ihateusc
Ihateusc

hey, i would contribute to a really big oven for mexicans. lol... 

Guest
Guest

Hitler also had the idea that Germans could march in and take over any land they pleased, not unlike the La Raza folks with their Latino Lebensraum ideology today.

Guest
Guest

The ACLU has become, especially in SoCal, a tool of ethnic activists. This woman simply has no civil rights or liberties to protect -- she is not a citizen and is in the country illegally (after 3 times being deported according to accounts I have read). She does have *human* rights, but no civil rights.

I do give the ACLU fairly high marks on free speech issues, but even there they have been falling prey to political correctness. 

Guest
Guest

No, not kidding. Perhaps you can name one?

Joseph
Joseph

Mitch- I disagree that poor immigrants...(as you say). The same argument has been made about immigrants in this country before...remember the irish, italians, polish, etc.?  Crowd schools and increase traffic?

In any case, you didn't really address my question.  Shouldn't the measure of who we want in this country be whether you are a good, hard-working, honest person who believes in American values?  I've met many "illegal" aliens who meet that criteria.  I also know many citizens who don't. 

I don't disagree that we need to secure the borders, ensure that employers don't hire those without permits, and encourage people to follow the procedures our "wise" legislatures have set forth, but deporting everyone who doesn't "have papers" is not the answer.  For me, its un-American to simply and arbitrarily draw the line on whether someone has papers or not.

Guest
Guest

Nice debate Ari-- I think we can agree to disagree.

Certainly this discussion has been much more pleasant the the usual 'pendejo! racist! cracker! rhetoric around here.

Ari
Ari

 1.  The only evidence that Garcia is violent is that her boyfriend had scratch wounds.  Given that she was being beaten, it's far from unlikely that these were inflicted defensively.  Defending one's self from assault is--in most cases--desperation, not evidence of violent inclinations.

2.  70% isn't failure, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't be better.  It could be, you know, 30% better.  And just as we have the right as citizens to use our voices and votes to create a community that reflects what we want, and to limit citizenship, we also have the right not to settle for 70%.

3.  I'm perplexed by your final point.  The deaths of Bob Clark and his son were tragic, but it would be grossly incorrect to suggest that deporting people would reduce incidents of vehicular manslaughter in the United States in any statistically significant way.  The unfortunate truth is that naturalized and natural born American citizens are more of a menace to our highway safety.

While I suspect that my views on immigration are more liberal than those of most of the commenters here, I'm not attempting to argue against the identification and deportation of illegal immigrants.  I just think that if we're told that Secure Communities is intended to root out violent criminals residing stateside illegally, then that's what it should be used for.  If there's a general sense that other programs and Immigration initiatives aren't adequately targeting illegal immigrants that don't fall under the violent offender type, then we should do something about that.  And it should be something more effective than deportation: Garcia has been deported previously and keeps returning to the US, and she's hardly the only one.

So what do we do?  Build more prisons and house people at taxpayer expense?  Make information on legal immigration more accessible and available to people in Mexico and in other countries with a high illegal flight rate, as well as within illegal communities in the US?  Increase foreign aid, perhaps, and attempt to improve the quality of life in our neighboring countries?  Build really, really big walls?

I'm not sure what the answer is.  I just know that when I consider what would make my community more secure, arresting beaten women and dumping the abusive creeps who target them isn't on the list.  It's impossible for me to entirely divorce the context of Garcia's arrest from the issue of her illegal status, and from the inherent conflict with the stated purpose of the Secure Communities program.

Ari
Ari

 That's a legitimate viewpoint.

I guess the problem for me is that this case and others like it make women with illegal status so much less likely to report abuse.  I don't believe that lacking legal protection from harm is going to be a sufficient deterrent to illegal immigration (many women who enter the US illegally face similar problems in their home communities).  And really, it's bad for everyone when guys who like to hit women aren't getting reported to the police.  Abusers like easy prey, it's true, but they're not likely to check citizenship status before knocking a woman around.

Ari
Ari

 As regards HIV rates:

Convenient stereotyping aside, San Francisco is not the leader in new HIV infections.  New York and Miami have been jostling for the top spot, followed very closely by DC.  At least a dozen urban municipalities have infection rates higher than San Francisco's.

SuperNiceGuy
SuperNiceGuy

San Francisco is home to all kinds of tech companies, tech company employees, and VC. You're only demonstrating your incredible ignorance.

But go ahead, keep making stupid AIDS jokes, while the OC economy continues to crater thanks to the lack of anything remotely useful done there. 

SuperNiceGuy
SuperNiceGuy

San Francisco is a great city, where lots of interesting people live and do great things. It's the cradle of all the tech innovation in California.

Orange County is the cradle of....

Um....

Hmmm...

Fast food chains?

Quite a rich legacy! 

Guest
Guest

The only reason this case is being brought to our attention is that this woman is a 'Latina' illegal. Look at the people who have adopted her cause. Villagra, Angelica Salas, a casper immigration attorney (what an awful profession!) and another casper lawyer that is associated with Dov Charney -- a woman abuser and illegal alien employer himself.

They are spinning this woman as if she is a saint. In my admittedly limited knowledge of battered women who are in 'relationships' with criminals (and what's the BF's immigration status BTW?) they aren't exactly Mother Theresa. They are often involved in crime, or at least aid and abet it.

Again this woman is here illegally. Its too bad she took up with a bad boy and he slapped her around. He should be prosecuted (and then deported if he is not a citizen). But she shouldn't be rewarded for her poor choices with immigration impunity.

Guest
Guest

Well Scrub, none of those groups was granted 'stakeholder' status in this affair, unlike CHIRLA. I don't see ICE consulting with A3P on whether they should, you know, do their job and enforce immigration law.

And that wasn't my comment about forced sterilization, though I probably shouldn't have clicked like, I was referring to the probability of Isaura having children who get into trouble with the law, which I think is pretty high given the statistics.

Scrubhugger
Scrubhugger

the ACLU comes to mind, though you would not accept that. here's a few that come to mind that may fit for you:

NRAThe Eagle ForumCitizens of AmericaCampaign for LibertyInstitute for JusticeOath KeepersFederalist Society

i guess you really were not kidding. based upon your comment about forced sterilization of people, i could easily have listed a number of white supremacist groups that would fit that mode of thinking. that was not your question though.

 

Guest
Guest

" The same argument has been made about immigrants in this country before...remember the irish, italians, polish, etc.?  Crowd schools and increase traffic?

And that argument was correct then, as the slums of the Eastern seabord showed. The US stopped immigration from Europe at its height, and doing so was part of what allowed the country to develop a huge working middle class. Further, during the low immigration period the US developed into a world power, had the baby boom, and put a man on the moon. We didn't need mass immigration to do all that, and America was no less American during that period -- in fact is was more American.

BTW there could be more immigration from Eastern Europe (e.g. Poland) right now, but our current nepotistic system which highly favors Mexicans (15% of all legal immigrants) blocks it. So please stop with the 'Ellis Island' gambit.

" Shouldn't the measure of who we want in this country be whether you are a good, hard-working, honest person who believes in American values?"

There are probably 5 billion good, hardworking people in the world, and half of those will live in countries poorer than Mexico. How many billions do you suggest we take?

"For me, its un-American to simply and arbitrarily draw the line on whether someone has papers or not. "

Do businesses have to 'have papers' to open a business? Isn't that arbitrary? To developers have to have permits to 'break ground' on a project? Is that arbitrary? How about lawyers -- isn't it arbitrary that they have to go do law school and pass the bar exam to practice -- aren't those hurdles just shielding them from competition. How about zoning laws saying you can only have X number of people living in a house -- isn't that an un-American infringement on my liberty to do with my property what I want?

Ari
Ari

 He was not initially picked up for the reported abuse, hence my reference to dumping.  Though he has a Latin surname, no report I can find refers to him as an illegal resident (and indeed, California has plenty of legal residents of Latin ancestry and extraction).

As to "targeting" or "catching people up", this may be an unresolvable matter of perspective.  I firmly believe that 30% is too high a rate to dismiss as people being "caught up", and reiterate that I would prefer to see non-violent illegal immigrants identified through other programs, or to see Secure Communities update its mission statement openly.

I dispute the point that big cities are wont to ignore immigration status in cases of endangerment, such as reckless driving.  Cases of vehicular manslaughter and other traffic-related deaths in particular are not dealt with and dismissed by police alone, but come to courtrooms and draw media attention.  As in the Clark case, these proceedings sometimes reveal the offender to be an illegal resident, but more often than not, the offender is a legal resident (and as far as I can find, more usually a natural born citizen than a naturalized one; there seems to be no evidence that Latinos are statistically more dangerous drivers than Caucasians).

Guest
Guest

" The unfortunate truth is that naturalized and natural born American citizens are more of a menace to our highway safety."

Actually, we don't know that, because in the big cities where most illegals live, the police are willfully ignorant as to immigration status. Without getting into metaphysics, what I do know is that if the guy who had killed Bob Clark had been deported and stayed in his home country, Bob and Ariel Clark would be alive today. At any rate, just as the ethnoactivists are using this Garcia case as a focusing case, I will use the Clark case -- both are at bottom anecdotes.

"dumping the abusive creeps who target them isn't on the list. "

I don't know that he has been 'dumped', and I don't know his immigration status either. From his name he is obviously 'Latino'.

As to your last point. Garcia was not 'targeted'. She got caught up in a bigger program. She has no right to be here and has in fact been deported three times. She is not being sentenced to life in prison, or any time in prison. She is being sent home. The  countries to our South are not that bad, as OC Weakly tries to assure us regularly -- we are just making it easier for her to enjoy one of them.

ACLUsucks
ACLUsucks

Dude, just move to the Castro. You know that is where you belong. That way you can visit the Tenderloin any time you want. And you know exactly what I am talking about.

Don't forget to support Harvey Milk Day. 

Guest
Guest

Dude, web designers are not 'Tech Companies'.

Guest
Guest

Uh, Silicon valley ain't San Francisco.

You guys can claim to be the number one HIV incubator though. Thanks for that!

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