DEER PARK, Texas- A Houston-area mother of three has gone from freedom, to jail, to an ICE detention center in just two days.
Now, her family fears she’ll soon be sent back to Guatemala following a simple traffic stop.
“I though the worst thing that could happen is she would get a ticket,” said daughter Alejandra Garcia.
Garcia was with her mother, Lucia Montes-Rodas, when she was arrested.
“I didn’t think they were going to take her,” said Garcia.
It happened Monday following a traffic stop by Deer Park Police.They say a computer search on Montes-Garcia turned up an active ICE warrant.
“She was not aware, nor was I, that she had a warrant from immigration,” said Garcia.
Garcia admits her mother had no front license plate at the time they were pulled over and could not produce a driver’s license because she’s undocumented.
But immigration activists now supporting the family believe she deserves a citation, not deportation.
“We don’t want to assume that police are already enforcing the SB4 law since it has not come into effect,” said Cesar Espinosa with FIEL Houston. “But it’s important to know these are the types of chilling effects that SB4 if going to have in our community.”
The family and others walked into Deer Park Police headquarters to file a formal complaint. And they’re now working with immigration attorneys to try and keep Montes-Rodas in the country.
“It was an act of racism,” said Montes-Rodas’s husband, Alejandro Garcia in Spanish. “As a community, we should get together and stop this.”
Here are statements from both Deer Park Police and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement):
On June 26, 2017, at approximately 3:32 pm. a Deer Park Police Officer conducted a traffic stop on a black jeep for operating a motor vehicle without a front license plate. During the stop, Officers determined that the driver, identified as Lucia Montes-Rodas, was operating the vehicle without a driver’s license. A computer check of the driver revealed that she had an outstanding failure to appear warrant issued through the Department of Homeland Security. Verbal confirmation of the warrant was obtained followed by a written detainer. Montes-Rodas was taken into custody for operating a vehicle without a front license plate and no driver’s license and was booked into the Deer Park Jail. The Department of Homeland Security responded to the Deer Park Jail and took custody of Montes-Rodas.
On June 28, Lucia Montes Rodas, 41, from Guatemala, was arrested by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Deer Park (Texas) Jail following her arrest on local charges. Montes-Rodas was previously arrested by U.S. Border Patrol near Eagle Pass (Texas), after she illegally entered the United States in July 2003. When she failed to appear before an immigration judge in November 2003, she was issued a final order of removal. Montes-Rodas is currently in ICE custody pending removal from the United States.
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