Family says traffic ticket could lead to deportation

ICE announced in January it was no longer arresting non violent, undocumented immigrants at Kern County courthouses, but one man says ICE found him after he paid a traffic ticket.
BAKERSFIELD, CA - Since moving to the United States in 1992, Luciano Sandoval has collected three traffic violations for driving without a license. This last time, he went to the Kern County courthouse to pay the fine on February 3rd. Three days later, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency showed up at his house.

His 18-year-old daughter, who is an American citizen, reached out to an immigration attorney to understand her father's arrest.

"She's like, 'Do they have a search warrant?" said Kimberly Sandoval. "I'm like, 'No, he said they didn't have any of that. The only thing they had was the paper of deportation."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California demanded ICE stop making sweeps of non-violent immigrants coming to Kern County courthouses for help or to pay fines.

Last month, ICE announced it would only focus on undocumented immigrants who posed a threat to public safety. However, Sandoval said her father only paid a traffic fine before he was detained.

"I couldn't bare to see him in chains," said Sandoval. "I told my cousin, 'Oh my God, they have him like an animal."

Luciano Sandoval is back home, but he must wear a GPS ankle monitor until his next court appearance.

ACLU attorney Michael Kauffman said there is a second, almost identical case in Kern County. His client was deported last Friday. Kauffman said if ICE is using court information to deport undocumented, non-violent immigrants, then it is in violation of ICE's own policy.

A representative from ICE said it is looking into the case. Kern County Superior Court said it doesn't have a policy to turn information on undocumented immigrants over to ICE and discourages employees from contacting ICE.

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Bakersfield, CA