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SoCal immigrant advocates denounce ‘gotcha’ arrests

Local immigrant advocates are denouncing what they call “gotcha’ arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Marlon Castillo is an electrician, husband and father of two.

Wife Ana Castillo, a U.S. citizen, is petitioning to adjust her husband’s status. The couple was hopeful at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services appointment. The first step in their petition was approved.

“When I went to this interview the officer seemed surprised when she found out that there was on order of deportation. She approved the petition and had us wait in the waiting room,” said immigration attorney Meredith Brown.

That’s when Marlon Castillo was detained by ICE.

Brown said the deportation order is from 20 years ago. The family is pleading for immigration authorities to release him as they move forward with their petition.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) points to an about face by the ICE field office in Boston. Its acting director told a judge the office stopped arresting people seeking legal status at government offices unless there was a threat to national security or public safety.

“ICE is a federal agency. Why in Boston, why not in Los Angeles, why not in all major cities of this nation?” asked Brown.

ICE has maintained anyone in violation of U.S. immigration laws can be arrested.

Anabel Munoz

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