Activists Rally Around Kareli Barerra, Long Beach Immigrant Scheduled for Deportation After Shoplifting

Kareli-Barrera-jpeg1.jpg
Kareli and family
A clothing store employee in Long Beach called the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD) on Kareli Barrera last Monday. They arrested the woman on suspicion of shoplifting. Nervously, she gave deputies a false name as she's an undocumented immigrant.

Later that night, they booked and jailed Barrera for the misdemeanor offenses. When she went before a judge, she pleaded no contest to petty theft, but instead of being released, the mother of an American citizen remained detained at Lakewood Sheriff's Station until being transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) early Monday morning.

The move angered activists, stating she should've been protected by California's TRUST Act, a law that is supposed to command local police agencies to tell la migra to fuck off when it comes to immigrants arrested for non-violent crimes.

The Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition first learned of Barrera's TRUST Act test case early on and reached out to RAIZ, a SanTana-based activist group that engages in direct action against deportations.

A petition immediately circulated on the National Day Laborer Organizing Network's (NDLON) #Not1More action page. By Friday, members of RAIZ arrived with Barrera's fiance at the Lakewood station during visitation hours, but were denied a visit without explanation. Early Monday morning, authorities transferred Barrera to the Los Angeles ICE field office. Hundreds of phone calls from supporters followed, flooding the line of Acting Deputy Field Office Director Robert Naranjo.

"Ms. Barrera was remanded to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody April 14 after a fingerprint screening revealed she had been previously deported in December 2008 following her conviction in Utah related to credit card fraud," says ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice. "Ms. Barrera remains in ICE custody pending further review of her case."

News about her re-entry into the country and a prior (non-violent) conviction is not relevant for the activists rallying around her cause. "The Obama administration and ICE at any point in any case regardless of the details can exercise prosecutorial discretion," says Alexis Nava Teodoro, RAIZ's deportation defense coordinator. "We do feel the positive factors outweigh the negative factors. For example, she is the sole caretaker of a 2-year-old U.S. citizen daughter."

"If she were to be deported back to Mexico, she'd have no one to go back to."

Teodoro states that due to activist efforts, an emergency stay of removal halts the threat of imminent deportation for now. ICE confirms that a petition for review has been filed by Barrera's representatives with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. "The removal will remain stayed until the court renders its decision on the petition," Kice says.

In addition to Barrera's daughter, she has four siblings that are U.S. citizens. Her fiance is a permanent legal resident. According to activists and supporters, the prospect of family separation is one that need not be. "Under California law, the Sheriff's Department shouldn't have held Kareli for pick up by ICE," says Sameer Ashar, Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at UC Irvine. "The things with which she was charged aren't enumerated exceptions to the TRUST Act."

Ashar learned of the case Sunday and called the Lakewood station early Monday morning. By that time, authorities already transferred Barrera into ICE's hands. "The officer I spoke with indicated that he hadn't heard of the TRUST Act," Ashar says, "and wasn't aware of any policies promulgated within the department to ensure compliance with the TRUST Act."

"The department has certainly opened itself up to potential legal liability," he opines. The Weekly's calls for comment from the Lakewood station haven't been returned.

In the meantime, authorities transferred Barrera again from Los Angeles to the James A. Musick detention facility in Irvine, where she remains separated from her family while awaiting her fate.

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

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72 comments
fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

Why doesn't Justin Bieber get deported? He's broken a number of our laws while acting like a belligerent little punk about it...

mannybanny
mannybanny

She broke immigration law.

She is an admitted thief.

She lied to the police and provided a false alias.

She doesn't respect our laws.

She's a habitual criminal.

DEPORT HER

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

Some of my WASP ancestors didn't come into this country the "right way" either. They were indentured servants who jumped ship in the harbor and fled south to skip out on their contractual obligations...

skyeagle
skyeagle

To whom it may concern

Meyiha ( Tongva for "Hello ), my name is SkyEagle and I'm a descendant of the Gabrieleno Tongva. The first indigineous peoples of Los Angeles & surrounding areas. I've read the story from above and most important of all, many of your blogs. You all ( unfortunately ) have valid points and have every right to voice your opinions. Yes, this country, or this state has every right to patrol and provide safety of its citizens ( myself included ).

I am neither for this young woman being deported, nor am I against as well. Yes, she did come to this country illegally. And yes, from what I've ascertained, she did commit a crime or two ( neither two crimes to just sweep under the rug ). But please note, I do not in any way shape or form want to come out sounding like the proverbial bleeding heart in this mass sewage of conservatism! But please note these facts, all of your bigotry and racism will gain any more supporters, or especially validate your points.

I will not name names, but using that ignorant word of 'Anchorbaby', I find not only disgusting but dehumanizing!!! Please note, that child ( although brought or born into this country illegally and wrongly ) did not ask to be brought into this country! And to think that by simply deporting this young woman back to her native homeland will rectify this situation?! Oh give me a Goddam break!!! Who is to say that she won't get help by sneaking back across the border and keeping a low profile?!

And yes, the crime of credit card fraud is quite heinous and not as simple as pinching a pack of 'Cig's' at some gas station mini- mart! But why hasn't anyone ever mentioned about rich spoiled white teenagers going across the border, drinking- partying- getting naked- destroying Mexican property- making fools of themselves and violating the laws of Mexico and then crying: "I'm an American citizen, get your hands off me"! True, those same American teenagers don't remain within Mexican territory and quite frankly don't sponge off the government tit ( yes, I get that ). But rather, contribute to their tourism board.

But telling this same young woman if she doesn't want to lose her child, "Then take her with you!" Can any of you read how incredibly ignorant that sounds?! Like it or not, that kid of hers is now American, plain & simple. She would be alien to Mexico as her mother is to here! And to the individual quoting: "Tiny violins playing". Oh dude!! C'mon man, that just plain sucks!!!

Do any of you know how incredibly difficult it is to try and apply for citizenship?! To say its a bitch is an understatement! Most of any language classes are taken up, community centers within the barrios are more interested in trying to find you work, instead of offering support groups in how to properly integrate into American culture and find tutors to teach you the English language! And then try to help you find work!! I know- I know, I can already from you guys more tiny violins playing for me. Well, if you don't give a damn, then why should illegal immigrants?!

And before I end this, feel free to give back any of your witty/ bigoted retorts to my ( which probably sounds like to you all ) liberal ( we prefer the term by the way: "Progressive" thank you ) bullshit. I said my peace and have nothing further to say, but deporting her and thinking she have or find a way to cross the border again?! Oh please, give me a fucking break!!! Oh and just one more thing, you see, I'm Native American. It by the way doesn't make me a worse, or better human being than anyone else. But since my ancestors have lived in this part of the continent for over nineteen thousand years. Unless any of you all out there in conservative land are Indian, and had your ancestors living in Southern California for over nineteen millennia, well all I got to say is " you've got a lot of fucking nerve", plain & simple!!!!

Teh'Hoveet ( Tongva for "Thank you" )

SkyEagle

Gabrieleno Tongva

'Pride, Honor & Survivors'

hitman_martinelli
hitman_martinelli

We need to all petition a new law that forbids anchor babies from being granted immediate citizenship! That is so damn ludicrous it makes all hard working tax paying American citizens sick!!

hitman_martinelli
hitman_martinelli

Let's see, She was lucky enough to come to this country illegally twice, Broke the law twice! And RAIZ is protesting her deportation? Does it get anymore arrogant then that???!

I say Deport her and RAIZ! When they should be fighting Just cases, they fight a loser like this?

And they wonder why so many Americans of all races dislike illegals? Gimme  a fucking Break!

tbone16
tbone16

Not an immigrant but an ILlegal immigrant!

Ashley Bare
Ashley Bare

I'm sure there are a lot of honest hard working immigrants who could use this attention.

Ashley Bare
Ashley Bare

I don't understand why they are working so hard to defend a thief?!

FFO1939
FFO1939

I can't wait for her to be deported. She brought this upon herself. Karma is a b$&#h!!! Jajajajaja. They sometimes contradict themselves regarding on their belief. What word they don't understand, one shall not steal. Oh well, millions to go...

Feliza Johnston
Feliza Johnston

Ship her criminal ass back to her country. Why the hell would it even be a question? Shes illigally here is that not a crime in itself?

PaulyWalnuts
PaulyWalnuts

You do the crime, you do the time. Credit card fraud, shoplifting. Why are these activist standing up for her. Unfortunately,she has made bad decisions and now she is being held accountable for her bad actions.

René Bruce
René Bruce

Deport the two time shoplifter along with her Anchor baby that was born here illegally !!!! ( I'm here legally, I did it the correct way by filling out paperwork etc)

applemutt
applemutt

This is not new.  Maybe just newly enforced.  To be in this country you are supposed to abide by the laws and if you break them they can send you back.

DayT
DayT

"she is the sole caretaker of a 2-year-old U.S. citizen daughter."

"If she were to be deported back to Mexico, she'd have no one to go back to." 


This made me sick. The "anchor baby" law needs to be changed.

She be deported once for credit card fraud in 2008 and another theft. What excuse does she has to stay in USA? Shame on her for using 2-year-old as a defense.

Sean Sydnor
Sean Sydnor

I guess it is to break the law if hete illegally.

Michael Price
Michael Price

Deport....... Americans have no rights in Mexico. F*** that s*** people that come legal should have an opportunity.

Omar David Sanchez
Omar David Sanchez

Now if only we could unite to help out those in line like Barrera is

vivamehico
vivamehico

strange, i never have the urge to steal items when i go shopping... must be a cultural thing with our amigos south of the border

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

Undocumented swine like Ms. Barerra are polluting this country and need to be extracted and expelled. 

scott121366
scott121366

She broke the law TWICE, that we know of. I seriously doubt if this was the first time she stole anything. Illegally "stealing" into this country should be grounds enough for deportation. Now she got caught shoplifting, and there are people who want to argue that she shouldn't be deported? BS!

BBAIN
BBAIN

I agree with everyone else - zero sympathy.  This lady gives the Mexicans who come here to work hard and make money a bad name (like my nanny).  Whether they deport her or not, I don't really care, but making this lady out to be a victim is utter stupidity.  Thou shalt not steal. 

olgalugo95
olgalugo95

She broke laws.  Send her back.

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

If Ms. Barrera were a legal citizen, I would say deportation was an incredibly harsh punishment. But if she's undocumented and breaking the law that's a different story...

(But I confess, my compassion and my logic are having one hell of a wrestling match right now...) :-(



jvrsol
jvrsol

Good to hear that our Federal Laws are being enforced! This should be done with every illegal immigrant regardless if they come from Mexico or Canada!

Good job LASD...

roman_archer
roman_archer

Gabriel San Roman has single handedly destroyed any integrity that the OC Weekly has built up over the years from great articles by Moxley and Coker. I'm embarrassed for the entire editorial staff. Gabriel San Roman is a hack journalist who right now, couldn't get hired to work on a childs coloring book. At this point, why not drop the OC Weekly name and change it to something more fitting? How about the SanTana Times?

roman_archer
roman_archer

"a law that is supposed to local police agencies to tell la migra to fuck off"

That's some fine journalism!

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

She's one of Obama's victims.  Hiding in the shadows and stealing shit.  She is the epitome of why so many of us are against illegal immigration.  Such a sense of entitlement and the feeling laws don't apply to them.  Send her back.  She can take her "citizen" baby with her, and her legal resident bf.  Where is the kid's father?  Is she collecting benefits on behalf of her "citizen" child?  

steelgolf
steelgolf

First of all, California's "Trust Act" does not supersede federal immigration laws, second of all, if she has been deported once and illegally entered the U.S.again, that is a felony. Third, her convictions for "credit card fraud" and "shoplifting" shows the kind of citizen she would be. If anyone was convicted of these crimes in Mexico there would be some harsh jail time and then deportation without any appeals.

Opinari
Opinari

She "steals," is found to be "undocumented" and lies about her identity, yet she is supposed to be let off the hook?  What gives her the "right" to be given special treatment?  She obviously "knows" she is here in US illegally and that it is a crime, so why was she so blatant to steal and take chance of being found out?  I have no sympathy for fact she has spawned American citizens, she is not a citizen.  I'm also sick and tired of the reason of "splitting up a family" that is thrown in our faces every time an illegal commits a crime and is caught.  If she had brains she wouldn't have stolen merchandise making herself susceptible to arrest.  My opinion is that too many illegals expect leniency due to those who don't give a ratsass about keeping the laws of USA.  Only enforcing those they want and not enforcing those that they break.

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

@skyeagle  While some of the people opposed to illegal immigration are racists, I believe the majority are just hard-working people who want to see laws followed.  You can't deny that many illegals use/abuse the system by having babies here.  They know that if they have a child born here, that child automatically becomes a citizen (which is bs, as far as I'm concerned).  They know they are less like to be deported, and that the "citizen" child is "entitled" to many benefits.  You claim it is a bitch to become a citizen.  Yes, it is.  But I know many people that have done it.  IT would be much easier, if not for all the illegals we had to deal with.


I think what bothers many, like myself, is the arrogance with which many of them act..that they are "entitled" to certain things.  California went to from having some of the best schools in the country in the 60s and 70s, to currently having some of the worst.  I large factor in that, is the large number of non-English speaking kids coming from families who don't value education.


I think people would be angry if we had a large group of people coming from anywhere doing the same thing, so it's largely not a race issue.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

@DayT  

Great catch.  

It's not much of a stretch to see this mujer knows what she's doing...exploiting every angle of being illegal. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Correction... She broke the law FOUR times! The last one (Re-entering after deportion) rising to the level of a felony..

I do feel bad... for the actual citizens and the immigrants who do things the right way.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

@BBAIN  

So well said.  

The woman gives the ethical, law-abiding Mexicans a bad name, and they make her out to be the victim, deserving of mercy?   If that doesn't perpetuate a cycle of poverty, shame, ill-will, etc., I don't know what will.  But that's exactly what the author wants, because it keeps him in business. 


gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@fishwithoutbicycle If she's undocumented and breaking the law in terms of petty theft, that fails to rise above the level of protections offered by the Trust Act. Your compassion and logic don't have to be at odds with each other on this one.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@roman_archer Hey, Moxley and Coker called—they said to spare the fake praise. Also, we had integrity?

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@Opinari Man, there's a real Know Nothing clusterfuck going on in this comment section. You'd have a family separated over a petty theft charge? Stay classy!

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@gabrielsanroman

Honestly, it really bewilders me when some people of European descent are so hard-hearted about illegal immigration when their ancestors acquired this land by STEALING it from the Native Americans. Some folks need to read "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee".

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@GustavoArellano @roman_archerHaha! An ICE detainer request is just that, a request. It's no arrest warrant. And yeah, the Trust Act is supposed to have local law enforcement tell la migra to fuck off when they come calling for protected low-level offenders.

Opinari
Opinari

@gabrielsanroman @Opinari  That excuse is getting very thin.  The big question is why was she so dumb to steal in the first place?  A petty theft charge so don't follow the law of the land?  What gave her the right to break the law with impunity?  The petty theft brought her out of the darkness, she exposed herself and now needs to suffer the consequences accordingly.  There are two laws broken here.


roman_archer
roman_archer

@gabrielsanroman I will explain this to you because you're obviously not smart enough to figure this out on your own. If mom gets deported, she can take her kid with her. Plain and simple. No separation needed! By the way, you and Gustavo need some serious work on your comebacks. They are as weak as your journalistic skills.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

@gabrielsanroman @Opinari 

The credit card fraud -- in another state -- might've been a tad more serious.  And having a family should not be a criterion in dispensing justice and rehabilitation.  

Opinari
Opinari

@gabrielsanroman @Opinari  Assumed impunity.  If you are hiding as an illegal or criminal, would you assume you can commit a crime and should get away with it?  I certainly would not, nor would I commit one even if I thought I could.

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

@gabrielsanroman @Opinari  Degenerates like the repugnant Barerra violated our nation's trust when she snuck across our border like the conniving coward she is. 

hitman_martinelli
hitman_martinelli

@gabrielsanroman, I would think if the fiance loves her instead of reaping the welfare benefits he would go to Mexico with her!

And what's up with this "Trust Act"?

SO idiot illegals can commit any non-violent crime like stealing their next door neighbors car, be here illegally and some half ass RAIZ orgnization can rescue their low life asses?? Got to give you "want to see nothing more then the U.S. become another third world nation activists" credit for slipping that ACT by us law abiding citizens!

Only in America!

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

@gabrielsanroman @roman_archer  Ms. Barerra is a Mexican national whose presence within the United States is invalid and illegal. Send her and her offspring to Mexico. She needs to be taught a lesson in humility. 

roman_archer
roman_archer

@gabrielsanroman Maybe if this woman wasn't having a kid out of wedlock (ever hear of birth control?), in a country that she was residing in illegally while committing criminal acts, we wouldn't even be discussing this. If you are going to act really stupid on multiple fronts, then you need to deal with the consequences. Plain and simple.

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@roman_archer How about the fiance, who is the father of the 2-year-old? And Barrera's siblings? Yeah, just have everybody pack their shit instead of having the Trust Act do what it's supposed to do! Raiz is building a real 'Keep Our Families Together' movement, and it has nothing to do with your pendejadas...

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