UPDATE: In response to Campus News’s request for information ICE Western Regional Communications Spokesperson, Virginia Kice said Saul Cervantes was detained for multiple prior convictions, including cruelty to a child. Kice said the detention was made based on information provided by the Department of Homeland Security’s databases. Cervantes has been placed in immigration proceedings. A judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration will review his case to determine whether he will he will be deported.
By Ivan Cazares
East Los Angeles College Student Saul Cervantes was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and other law enforcement officers, at his Boyle Heights home May 11. His mother, Leticia Fernandez, said she allowed ICE agents posing as police to enter her home, claiming they were looking for a suspect in an unspecified crime.
Fernandez said the agents asked for Cervantes and interrogated her two tenants when she told them he wasn’t home. “They (ICE agents) said a judge wants to see him but didn’t tell me why,” Fernandez said in Spanish. Fernandez said the agents and officers didn’t show her a warrant and didn’t explain why he was being detained.
Cervantes is currently being detained at the Theo Lacy Detention Center in Orange County. Fernandez said she’s spoken to Cervantes and said he doesn’t know why he is being detained.
Fernandez added that Cervantes told her he signed a paper to see a lawyer. However, she said he hasn’t seen one as of May 15. She also said Cervantes is being told to sign paperwork to be voluntarily deported. She said she told him not to sign anything else until she hires legal representation for him.
The non-profit group Serve The People Los Angeles started a YOUCARING page to help Fernandez hire legal representation.
Serve The People also organized a small demonstration in front of the Federal Building in Downtown Los Angeles on May 15. Serve The People member Issac Barrera said it was important for community members to resist what he called oppression. He said the Federal Building was a good place to demonstrate because many of the orders to detain immigrants come from that building.
“Free Saul now! Down down with deportation! Up up with liberation!” chanted the group of about 20 people.
Cervantes’ girlfriend, Alexis Nicolas, said he is an outgoing and fun person. She also said he is undecided in his major, but started attending ELAC this spring to help improve his life.
Fernandez and Nicolas said Cervantes’ only problem with the law was in 2011. According to Fernandez, Cervantes’ girlfriend at the time filed two domestic violence charges against him. However, she wasn’t clear about the nature of the case.
One charge was dropped. However, Fernandez said he was convicted of domestic violence against one of his three sons. Fernandez said Cervantes followed the court’s orders and completed an anger management course. She also said he hasn’t had problems with the law since and doesn’t think that is why he was detained.
Campus News has submitted a formal request for information on Cervantes’ detention to ICE and hasn’t received a response at the time of publishing.