Jun 13, 2018, 2:36 AM ET

California siblings say ICE detained 62-year-old father despite legal status

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A Los Angeles family started an online petition this week to demand their father's release after they say ICE agents arrested him at his home despite his permanent legal status.

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Jose Luis García, who has been a legal permanent resident since the 1980s, was sitting in his yard on Sunday morning, enjoying a cup of coffee, when federal agents took him into custody, according to his family.

His daughter, Natalie García, said she felt helpless when she saw her 62-year-old father being handcuffed. She said the agency arrested him without a warrant, citing a nearly 20-year-old offense he thought was settled.

PHOTO: Luis Garcia said ICE arrested his father without a warrant on Sunday.KABC
Luis Garcia said ICE arrested his father without a warrant on Sunday.

"I asked for a warrant. They had no warrant. They said it wasn't a criminal offense, it was administrative," she told Los Angeles ABC station KABC on Tuesday. “They had to take him. It was due to a domestic violence dispute back in 2001.”

Garcia entered a no contest plea in the case, court records show. Natalie García said the family thought the case was closed.

"He's a taxpayer. He's a homeowner. He's been a homeowner. He's worked in the same job for more than 35 years," she said.

"He's my hero. So this is really heartbreaking for me, especially with how much he loves this country," her brother, Luis Garcia, added.

PHOTO: Natalie Garcia says ICE arrested her father without a warrant on Sunday, citing a nearly 20-year-old offense the he thought was settled.KABC
Natalie Garcia says ICE arrested her father without a warrant on Sunday, citing a nearly 20-year-old offense the he thought was settled.

Their father moved to the U.S. from Mexico nearly 50 years ago as a teenager and was granted legal status in the 1980s as a part of the Reagan administration’s Immigration Reform and Control Act, according to the family. The Immigration Reform and Control Act, passed in 1986, granted legal status for illegal immigrants who had entered prior to 1982 if they were not guilty of any crimes.

The Garcia family is asking for the community to show support through an online petition, urging people to call ICE and demand their father's release.

"I feel bad, I'm still confused. I do not know why this happened," his wife, Dolores Garcia, said in an interview with Univision. "It's the hardest thing for me, when [my grandchildren] asks me, 'What time does my dad arrive?'"

The family said it reached out to an immigration attorney as well as the American Civil Liberties Union.

KABC contacted ICE for comment late Monday, but the agency said a statement wouldn’t be available until Tuesday.

News - California siblings say ICE detained 62-year-old father despite legal status

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  • steve k

    The law is the law, no exceptions. Even if he’s the nicest guy in the world. We all must abide by the laws of this country. No exceptions. For anyone.

  • Diversity....of thought

    If I'm not mistaken, I'm apparently supposed to be outraged.

  • DeleteMeNot

    Here it is Wednesday and it's finally making news.... per the article ICE would release a statement Tuesday.... but oops that was yesterday...
    "In a statement to the Daily News, ICE confirmed Garcia’s arrest, saying that "Mr. Garcia has past criminal convictions that make him amenable to removal from the United States." -- sacbee.

  • Rich Kunath

    It would be nice if people would do some research and also read the entire article. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act did not give this man legal residence. It provided him the opportunity to apply for it, which his daughter said he did not. So, he was not in the US legally, and therefore subject to deportation whether he committed a crime (other than being here illegally) or not. Smh.

  • ababg

    Reagan gave mass amnesty in the mid 80's to all the illegal immigrants who entered the United States before
    January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a
    fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt; candidates were required
    to prove that they were not guilty of crimes, that they were in the
    country before January 1, 1982, and that they possessed at least a
    minimal knowledge about U.S. history, government, and the English
    language. Over 4 million were naturalized. This guy was just too lazy to do the paperwork. Sorry, but he was convicted of a violent crime afterwards. Even if he had a green card (permanent residency) he forfeited his right to stay here when he committed a crime.

    I don't feel sorry for him.

  • Educated

    .....But I thought it was all about protecting us from rapist, ms13, and murders. You Trump mean lied?.....The earth isn't flat?

  • foereel

    Violence against women is something our society takes very seriously. I would hate to think that this man was involved in such an act, but I guess anything is possible.

  • Chronic

    Legal permanent residents can apply for citizenship, which would have given him the right to stay as a US citizen. So, I am wondering why he didn't. Was there some sort of hitch to his permanent residency whereby he could not get US citizenship? Would be interesting to get more details.