A 31-year-old Salvadoran man is suing the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for allegedly violating state law by holding him for ICE detention.
Kelvin Hernandez Roman of Garden Grove was later detained nine months by immigration authorities in Adelanto before his release recently because of COVID-19 concerns at the detention center.
The federal suit was filed Monday on Hernandez Roman’s behalf by UCI Law School’s Immigration Rights Clinic. The suit seeks financial damages for Roman and a court order blocking Sheriff Don Barnes from holding inmates past their release times for ICE to pick up.
In July 2019, Tustin police stopped Hernandez Roman while driving and took him to Theo Lacy Jail in Orange. No charges were filed against the father of three, but sheriff’s deputies held him until ICE officers arrived.
Hernandez Roman was separated for months from his young family.
“Those months were some of the most difficult times in my life,” he said in a prepared statement. “I missed the birth of my youngest child. I couldn’t be there for my wife or my older children.”
Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department, said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
According to the complaint, Hernandez Roman’s extended detention by sheriff’s deputies violated his rights under the California Values Act, which prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies from holding any individuals in their custody specifically to comply with an ICE detainer.
“The California Values Act sought to build trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement, recognizing the valuable role immigrants play in California communities,” said Monica Ramírez Almadani, a visiting professor and co-director of the UCI Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, in a prepared statement. “We are disappointed about what happened to Mr. Hernandez Roman and hope no other Orange County resident will have to experience what he did again.”
While at Adelanto, concerns of a COVID-19 outbreak resulted in Hernandez Roman’s release. He had fallen ill with a fever, cough and body aches, and did not receive medical treatment, according to a separate lawsuit.
Said Ana Ramirez of the Orange County Rapid Response Network: “Orange County has resisted state law and sided against our community in the past. But now the stakes are even higher.”
Source: Orange County Register