El Paso

Detained Montana Vista 'Dreamer' released; will fight deportation, file civil rights lawsuit

EL PASO, Texas - Jesus Vasquez, a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant detained during a traffic stop in Montana Vista, has been released and will fight deportation, the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) announced Monday.

"After strong community support and after paying a $2,500 bond, Jesus was released from detention and placed in removal proceedings," a news release from the BNHR states.

Vasquez will not only fight deportation, but also plans to file a civil rights lawsuit, the BNHR said.

Vasquez's parents brought him to the United States from Mexico when he was 6 years old. Since then, he has been living as an undocumented immigrant in the El Paso area.

According to the Border Network of Human Rights, a Texas state trooper stopped the 22-year-old in the Montana Vista community in Early March because of the tinting on his car windows.

Vasquez reportedly did not have identification, but showed a Mexican birth certificate. A DPS spokesman said troopers contacted Border Patrol in an attempt to identify driver. Troopers cited Vasquez for not having a driver's license and having expired registration. He also received warnings for improper tint, no insurance and failure to signal lane change.

Fernando Garcia, the executive director of the Border Network of Human Rights, said the young Montana Vista man then ended up in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"What we are seeing is the dramatic change of realities.Two months ago, this would not be happening," said Garcia.

Garcia believes this is the first high-profile detainment of a Dreamer with no criminal history in the Borderland. His group worries it is the first of many to come.

"What we are seeing is reflective of the environment that we are seeing in Texas and in the nation, where immigrants are being treated as a criminal. It doesn't matter your background. If you are an immigrant and Latino, there is a potential that you are a criminal," Garcia said.

Despite living in the U.S. for 16 years, Vasquez did not start the process for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA.  It grants deferred deportation to people under the age of 31 who came to the U.S. under the age of 16 and meet other criteria.

"It wasn't Border Patrol that started the action. It was DPS. The officer was not interested in the ticket he was more interested in turning this young Dreamer in to immigration," Garcia said.

Garcia predicts this type of behavior will have a negative impact on the trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement.

"I mean, if you see a state trooper and you see a crime being committed, chances are in the immigrant communities they are not going to call them anymore. So that will be very dramatic for police safety," Garcia said.

Garcia believes it is only a matter of time before another traffic stop leads to a deportation and is asking people

"If you see any activity of immigration officers working with local police departments record them take pictures, send a testimony, talk out loud and tell the story. Because if we don't do that they are going to continue to do that in a way that is not transparent and it is not clear," Garcia said.


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