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Immigration Law

ICE 'Detains' American Man for Three Days, No Apology

"At the end of January, a 21-year-old Gunnison County man went through what might be described as an Orwellian ordeal that seems to have been a result of racial profiling.  Bernardo Medina was picked up and detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers on January 27 following an unrelated hearing in Gunnison County court.  The officers seemed to believe Medina was an undocumented immigrant.  According to Marketa Zubkova, a Gunnison organizer for the non-profit organization Hispanic Affairs Project, Medina produced a Colorado ID that Tuesday afternoon but the officers did not believe it was real.  In fact, Medina was born in Montrose but grew up in Mexico when his family returned to Jesus Maria, Nayarit when he was just nine months old.  “He doesn’t carry his birth certificate around with him,” Zubkova said. ... Finally on Thursday, Zubkova was able to track down Medina, who had been transferred to the Front Range, first to Colorado Springs and then to Aurora.  She was connected with an ICE officer and was able to get an email where she could send a copy of Medina’s birth certificate.  After receiving the birth certificate the ICE officers questioned Medina further and then finally Friday told him he was free to leave.  “It took us three days to find him in the system and send his U.S. birth certificate to a deportation officer in Aurora,” explained Zubkova.  “He was released in the evening on January 30 with $5 in his pocket in a city he hardly knew and his cell phone battery was just about to die.  His family from Gunnison made a hotel reservation in Aurora for him for one night and picked him up the next day.  No one from the ICE office even apologized to him." - Mark Reaman, Crested Butte News, Mar. 4, 2015.