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Citizen wrongly detained by immigration authorities settles lawsuit with federal gov't

Guadalupe Plascencia received a $55,000 settlement from the government more than a year after being wrongfully detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

A longtime U.S. citizen has settled her lawsuit against the federal government after she was wrongfully detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Guadalupe Plascencia has been a citizen for 20 years, but she said she was handcuffed, put in jail and threatened with deportation by ICE agents who did not believe that she was a citizen.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California issued the following statement:

"The government should be held accountable when it violates people's rights. San Bernadino County residents like Ms. Plascencia have the right to live, work, and raise their families in peace, without fear that ICE may unfairly arrest them without cause."

What happened?

Plascencia visited the Ontario Police Department in March 2017 to retrieve a gun she legally owned that had been seized by police after her daughter got in a car accident.

While at the station, she was arrested for allegedly failing to testify in a court case from 10 years ago. She spent the night in jail, during which she signed documents acknowledging that ICE had inquired about her.

When she was released, she was promptly arrested by ICE while leaving the jail. She was held for at least an hour and a half, until she was finally able to contact her daughter, who brought Plascencia's passport to the jail.

"I felt helpless, like I was no one," Plascencia told the Los Angeles Times last year after the incident. "Here, they talk about rights...in that moment, I realized, we don't have rights."

What did she get in the settlement?

Plascencia received $55,000 from the government, although the government never admitted any wrongdoing in the situation.

"This settlement sends a strong message that her entire ordeal could have been prevented had law enforcement taken a moment to properly investigate Ms. Plascencia's citizenship before arresting her. The Constitution requires no less," said Plascencia's attorney Alexandria Ruiz.

 

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