ACLU complaint claims Madera correctional officers helped ICE agents illegally deport a 23-year-old man

Saturday, June 29, 2019
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A formal complaint by the ACLU of Northern California is shining a spotlight on the Madera County Jail.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A formal complaint by the ACLU of Northern California is shining a spotlight on the Madera County Jail.

These documents claim correctional officers inside the jail helped ICE agents illegally detain a 23-year-old man who was in custody for allegedly driving under the influence.

"He should have been released back into the community," said Cuevas' attorney Angelica Salceda, who says that did not happen.

She says her client, a farm worker living with his family in Madera, was unlawfully deported because authorities violated California's sanctuary law.

The law applies to anyone, whether they are in the United States legally or not.

"Extremely frustrating especially because so many of us work to have the California values act and then to see someone ripped away from their community and family in a such a sad way," said Salceda.

Salceda also believes the Madera County Department of Corrections violated its policy stating that it, "Will not hold a person beyond his or her release date for the purpose of an immigration hold or other hold requests."

Salceda says this violation was evident after her client was walked out of his cell around 5:50 am to be released and was later walked back by a deputy who allegedly told him there was a problem and ICE was coming to pick him up.

"ICE detained him and removed to Mexico," Salceda said.

Salceda says another red flag is the detainer paperwork, which she tells us was not properly executed.

"That ice detainer was signed by a regular ICE administration official so there was no indication that there was a magistrate that signed off on a warrant that would allow for his transfer to continued detention," she said.

Concerns that have led the ACLU to seek about $750,000 in damages for emotional distress and violation of constitutional rights.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story said that Madera County Sheriff's Deputies were assisting ICE, that was incorrect as the Madera County Sheriff's Office does not operate the jail. We regret the error.