Demonstration Today Set to Protest Pasadena Resident's Arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Grandfather, who authorities say had been deported once before, was detained as immigration agents sought another person

Published : Thursday, March 16, 2017 | 5:52 AM

A press conference and vigil to demand the release of Pasadena resident Carlos Ortiz from detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is scheduled to be held at Pasadena City Hall on Thursday at 4 p.m.

The event is being organized by a new group called Pasadenans Organizing for Progress, known as POP.

Ortiz was detained last month by ICE agents who came to his Pasadena home looking for a suspect who was not there. In the process, the agents ended up taking away — Ortiz who was not the original target of their operation.

According to POP’s Executive Director Lizbeth Mateo, before dawn on the morning of February 9, ICE agents knocked on the door of Pasadena resident Carlos Ortiz. Identifying themselves as “police” to Stephanie Ortiz, 19, his daughter, they asked if a “Rodrigo” lived at the address.

Mateo said that Stephanie woke her brother and father, who told the police that ‘”Rodrigo” did not live at that address, but may have lived at the address eight years before the Ortiz family moved in.

When ICE officials asked Carlos for identification, Mateo said, he showed them his “matrícula consular,” an identity card that Mexican consulates issue to Mexican citizens who reside outside Mexico. Consulates have issued the matrícula consular since 1871.

At that point, according to ICE Western Regional Communications Director/Spokesperson Virginia Kice, the Fugitive Operations officers determined Ortiz had been previously deported in 1999 and had since illegally returned to the U.S.

The ICE officers then took Ortiz into custody. He has been held since the arrest at Adelanto Detention Center “pending removal.”

“During targeted enforcement operations ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws,” Kice explained. “Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.”

Asked about the arrest, and the possibility that Pasadena Police may have been notified of the ICE operation in Pasadena prior to its execution, Chief Phillip Sanchez Wednesday evening reiterated his position that the Pasadena Police Department “does not cooperate with ICE on immigration enforcement.”

For more information about the demonstration, contact Lizbeth Mateo at (310) 489-9951.


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