If you wanted an example of the (intentional) mission creep of supposedly rounding up and deporting MS-13 gang members, the story of the Garcia family in Los Angeles shows the insidiousness of blanket immigration raids. The Mercury News has the story of 62-year-old Luis Garcia, who, according to his daughter, was having his morning coffee and watering his lawn around 7 a.m. on Sunday when approximately eight Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents showed up at Garcia’s home, handcuffed him, and detained him. Now, they’re trying to deport him.
Luis Garcia’s 32-year-old daughter Natalie Garcia was in the house, which her father owns, at the time of the arrest. Natalie said her father had come to the U.S. nearly fifty years ago from Mexico, when he was just 13, and had been a longtime legal permanent resident, who had gone to high school in the area where he later bought a home and raised a family. Luis Garcia never became a citizen, she said, but paid taxes as all other Americans. When the ICE agents arrived, Natalie said she didn’t know what to do. “[Natalie] tried to get more information and asked to see the arrest warrant and if they had read him his rights,” the Mercury News reports. “She said the agents responded rudely, did not answer most of her questions, and told her they did not have to show her the warrant. They told her that it was not a criminal warrant, but an administrative one.”
“I dropped to the floor in shock, because I didn’t ever expect this,” Natalie said when she realized it was an immigration-related arrest. She said the only blemish on her father’s record was a misdemeanor 18 years ago from a domestic violence dispute with her mother, for which her father completed an anger management class and spent a period on probation. And that appears to be enough for ICE to go ahead with trying to deport her father, a U.S. resident of a half-century. “Databases reveal that Mr. Garcia has past criminal convictions that make him amenable to removal from the United States,” ICE said in a statement. “Mr. Garcia is currently in ICE custody pending removal proceedings, where an immigration judge with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) will determine whether or not he has a lawful basis to remain in the United States.”
“My dad was comfortable. There was no reason for my dad not to get his citizenship. It was just the awareness. He was just too comfortable,” Natalie Garcia said. “That’s why I urge people to look into your rights and get citizenship if you are able to.”