KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - The ACLU of Missouri sued two federal ICE officers, claiming they mistreated a Kansas City immigration lawyer at an ICE facility.
In June 2018, the ACLU says lawyer Andrea Martinez followed ICE officers’ orders to accompany her three-year-old client into an ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Facility so that he could be reunited with his pregnant mother, who is also Martinez’s client, before both would be deported to Honduras.
They say Martinez originally had an arrangement with ICE for her clients to say goodbye to the woman’s partner in the parking lot. ICE allegedly told Martinez that she would accompany the child and the woman’s partner to a waiting van in the parking lot where the woman was detained so that the child could be reunited with his mother and the woman’s partner could say goodbye to both before they were deported.
Instead, the ACLU claims two ICE officers told Martinez to enter the ICE facility for reunification and family goodbye. They say when Martinez arrived at the entrance with her client, ICE agents forcibly separated her from the three-year-old client and blocked her from entering the building.
Next, the ICE officers allegedly pushed Martinez to the ground causing serious injury. Seconds later, they allegedly ordered her into the facility. Once inside, the ACLU says the ICE officers refused Martinez medical treatment for her bleeding leg and fractured foot, illegally detained her inside the facility against her will and illegally seized and searched her cell phone.
The ICE officers also allegedly refused to allow the mother and child to get their luggage out of Martinez’s car, deporting them without any personal belongings except for the clothes they were wearing.
Martinez’s associate attorney was able to call the police and an ambulance from outside the facility to get medical attention for Martinez. After ICE allowed her to leave the room she was locked in, medical staff helped her out of the ICE facility on a stretcher. Later, at an emergency room, the ACLU says medical tests confirmed that she fractured her foot and had a concussion.
“We afford ICE officers great latitude, but these two agents acted outside the bounds of what any reasonable officer would think appropriate.” said Anthony Rothert, legal director at the ACLU of Missouri. “Assaulting a lawyer and deporting her toddler client without any of his clothes and belongings is mean. Americans should not tolerate this behavior being done in our name.”
The incident was recorded as part of the Netflix documentary, “Living Undocumented.” It was released on Oct. 2 and featured Martinez’s clients’ story.