1,000 signatures reached
To: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
BREAKING: ICE Detains Immigrant in Retaliation for Lawsuit on Detainer Policies
Release immigrant rights defender Jose Montelongo from immigration detention to be reunited with his children and continue to hold local law enforcement and immigration enforcement accountable.
Why is this important?
Jose Montelongo is an immigrant from Arizona who just this January sued a local Sheriff for his 48hr detainer policy, that allows the re-arrest of undocumented people for up to 48-hours after they have been released on all state and local charges.
ICE lifted the detainer on Jose after the jail commander informed their agency that Jose was likely to succeed on the merits of his emergency request for a Temporary Restraining Order on the Sheriff’s policy. Jose was successfully released on a $200.00 bond from the Coconino County Jail on February 14, 2019, and welcomed with open arms by his children, family, and community.
Since his release, ICE has been surveilling the Flagstaff community. On April 18-19 agents targeted immigrant communities in the cities of Flagstaff and Sedona, searching for Jose. ICE detained and threatened loved ones of Jose, who were told that if they did not tell ICE agents Jose’s location, they would go after their family; ICE kept their promise. At least two who were detained were shown files on various members of the community full of information collected through heavy surveillance. Jose’s father was told, “The more attention this gets, the worse it will be for your family.” He refused to speak and is now in Eloy Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing. This is an egregious attack by ICE to chill undocumented people from exercising their civil rights and terrorize communities and organizers.
Jose has lived in Flagstaff since he was 9 years old, for close to 20 years. Last December he was booked into the Coconino County Jail after being pulled over for going 2 miles over the speed limit. He had a failure to appear warrant from 2016 that was unresolved due to a previous voluntary departure in 2016. Jose returned to the United States after his life was threatened and his children’s mother was having trouble caring for his two oldest children on her own.
According to Jose, it was made clear to him by ICE agents that the raids and his detention were retaliation for his lawsuit, stating that he should not have let himself be convinced by others he could exercise his rights. After a heavily armed, warrantless and inhumane action led by ICE to capture Jose, agents pulled into a Home Depot parking lot in Cottonwood, Arizona, and thanked him for the raises they would receive, adding plainly that he had brought this upon himself for filing a lawsuit against the Coconino County Sheriff.
As recently decided in a federal appeals court case, retaliatory actions towards undocumented activists and advocates are a violation of our first amendment rights.