Lawsuit: Day Laborer Faces Deportation After Anaheim Employer Filed False Police Report

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Jose Ucelo Gonzalez sought an honest day's work and compensation as many do outside an Anaheim Home Depot on Brookhurst Street and Crescent Avenue in March. The day laborer was hired by Michael Tebb, an Anaheim employer who used "Nick" as an alias, for a job in Garden Grove that unfortunately set in motion circumstances that now have him facing deportation from the country and separation from his 10-month old son.

Ucelo and community supporters gathered today at Tebb's residence in Anaheim near the day laborer site to serve a summons for a lawsuit against him. It contends that the jornalero was falsely reported for robbery to Garden Grove police on March 9, 2012 by his boss to avoid being paid for his 10-hour workday. Ucelo had also called police to report wage theft, but only he was detained in the dispute. Tebb was not.

Protesters rally and play music outside the home of Michael Tebb

The charges were eventually dropped as the flimsy accusation fell apart, but Ucelo, who has no criminal record, was not freed. Instead, he was transferred to the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and now could be deported.

Those rallying on Ucelo's behalf today, including Colectivo Tonantzin and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, called on ICE to use discretion in his case while protesting wage theft and pressuring Governor Jerry Brown to sign the TRUST Act into law in order to avoid any further wrongful deportation detentions. At one point, as many as four Anaheim police patrol cars were dispatched to the scene. After having discussions with organizers, two officers entered the residency, but Tebb was reportedly not home, though two of his sons did come out at one time.

The August 3 lawsuit against defendants Tebb, M.T. Asphalt, Adam Hud and Robert Casillas will be handled in Superior Court Judge Thierry Colaw's Santa Ana courtroom.

On another TRUST Act front this weekend in the city, the Orange County DREAM Team is planning to hold a rally outside the Anaheim Police Department tomorrow at 5 p.m. The organization is also calling on Governor Brown to sign the legislation and repair the broken confidence in law enforcement that has take place since the implementation of the federal Secure Communities (S-Comm) deportation program. Approximately 80,000 people have been deported in California as a result of the policy with less than one-third among those having been convicted of a serious crime.

On Thursday, 22 congressional Democrats from California endorsed the TRUST Act and urged effective action from the Governor. The legislation also enjoys support from police chiefs and county sheriffs in the state as well.

For his part, the Governor has two and a half weeks to decide whether or not he's down for the brown!

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