A woman was accused of shoplifting from a Long Beach clothing store. After pleading guilty to the misdemeanor offense, she still was detained at the Lakewood Sheriff's Station and later transferred to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.
A number of activists have protested these actions. They state that the woman should have been protected under the California TRUST Act, an act that applies to immigrants who have been arrested for non-violent crimes.
The woman has a 2-year-old daughter who was born in the United States. She also has four siblings who are U.S. citizens and she is engaged to a permanent legal resident. The concern of immigrant activists is that family separation could come about if a deportation occurs. "If she were to be deported back to Mexico," said one individual, "she'd have no one to go back to."
An emergency stay has at least temporarily halted deportation efforts. A petition for review has been filed at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. One argument for preventing of deportation is that the woman was not charged for matters that would allow for an exception under the TRUST Act. The woman is nevertheless separated from her family while she awaits the outcome of this matter.
Our aim as immigration attorneys is to bring families together rather than see families torn apart through applications of the law. Unfortunately, immigration laws can be quite complex and not readily understood by everyone - including even law enforcement officers. We attempt to assist such individuals navigate these laws and locate a solution that will prevent family members from being separated from each other.
Source: OC Weekly, "Activists Rally Around Kareli Barerra, Long Beach Immigrant Scheduled for Deportation for Shoplifting," Gabriel San Roman, April 17, 2014