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ACLU of Michigan seeks information on ICE enforcement action in Grand Rapids

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement records relating to the detention and assault of an American citizen and a lawful permanent resident in Grand Rapids in February.

The Arab American News reports:

In February, Telma Valdez, who has lived in the United States for almost 22 years, and her son, Luis Valdez, a college student at Grand Rapids Community College who was born in the U.S., drove to the home of relatives to allow their 6-year-old cousin to play with Luis’s new puppy. As they pulled the car into the driveway, unidentified ICE agents ran toward them. An agent pointed a gun at Luis and ordered him to show ID. Both Luis and Telma produced their valid driver’s license and ICE agents demanded that they get out of the car.

Telma was handcuffed and escorted to the back of the car where an agent held a gun to her back and repeatedly banged her head into the trunk of the car yelling at her to admit she was “Irma.” Telma screamed out in pain and fear. Luis was handcuffed, and both Luis and Telma were escorted into an apartment.

Inside the apartment, Luis again tried to explain that he was a U.S. citizen and Telma told agents that she had her green card with her. Soon after retrieving the card, agents realized that they had arrested a U.S. citizen and legal permanent resident. Agents released the two, but not before one agent threatened Telma that she risked losing her legal status if she told her story to anyone.

The ACLU FOIA request asks for all records relating to the coordination and planning of the raid, training and supervision materials, protocols related to racial profiling and procedures for interrogating people and verifying their identity and immigration status.

The Alliance for Immigrants Rights and Reform Michigan in Detroit has also reported that ICE recently detained an American citizen, apparently based on inaccurate information about his immigration status.

In April ICE promised to investigate its Michigan operations after AIRR presented a list of recent reports of racial profiling and abuse.

In one instance in March, the group says, ICE pulled over, interrogated and detained U.S. citizen Ruben Torres.

On March 24, 2011, Ruben Torres was pulled over on the M-10 Service Drive, near Howard and Abbot, by an unmarked car of the type typically used by ICE. Torres was born in Detroit and is a U.S. citizen. The officer interrogated Torres and demanded to see his visa. Torres showed him his social security card, driver’s license, and union membership cards and continued to explain that he is a U.S. citizen. The officer insisted that Torres produce either a visa or a birth certificate to prove his claims. He told Torres that he believed Torres’ “visa” expired in 2004 and that he should “stop lying” about being a U.S. citizen. The officer detained Torres for about an hour and then released him.

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