The American Civil Liberties Union Monday filed administrative complaints against the cities of Tustin and Huntington Park for allegedly violating the so-called sanctuary state law.
The ACLU alleges that police in both cities illegally questioned two suspects about their immigration status, in violation of the California Values Act.
The complaints focus on the arrests last July of Kelvin Hernandez Roman of Garden Grove and Jose Maldonado of Baldwin Park.
Roman was stopped in Tustin on suspicion of driving a car with tinted windows and questioned about his immigration status, according to the ACLU. Roman was booked at the Theo Lacy Jail in Orange, where he was told he would not be charged in connection with the traffic stop, but would stay behind bars until Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities could take him into custody, the ACLU alleged.
Roman remains in the custody of ICE, according to the ACLU.
Huntington Park officials released a statement saying the city is “fully cooperating with the ACLU and is not able to comment on the details of this or any other case at the moment. The department is looking into its internal controls to ensure complete adherence to the California Values Act.”
Tustin police had not commented as of Monday afternoon but the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which runs the branch jail in Orange, released a statement saying it fully complies “with state law regarding communication with federal partners” and is “looking into the circumstances of this individual case.”
“OCSD strongly agrees with those who argue that local law enforcement should not be enforcing immigration law. We have never, do not, and will not arrest individuals on the street for violation of immigration law. It is not our charge and doing so could hinder the relationships we have worked hard to develop with the immigrant communities we serve,” the sheriff’s statement says.
“Cooperating with ICE in a custody setting makes possible the removal of criminals who pose a threat to all members of the community. We have an obligation to protect all members of the communities we serve, and that includes preventing those who have committed crimes from returning to the neighborhoods they prey upon.”
Maldonado was arrested in Huntington Park on suspicion of public intoxication, but was never charged, according to ACLU officials, who said he was detained for seven hours at the request of ICE so federal authorities could take him into custody.
Maldonado is out on bail facing immigration violation accusations, according to the ACLU, which alleges it has “evidence that this has been a regular practice of the Huntington Park police.”
The organization alleged in its complaint that 29 people were transferred by Huntington Park police to the custody of ICE from the time the state law took effect in 2018 through August of last year.
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