Legal Aid Service of Broward County Immigration Unit Steps in to Help Mom See Her Children
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – July 27, 2018 — Legal Aid Service of Broward County Attorney Jonathan Urrutia has been working to help free a 24-year old mom with three young children from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after she voluntarily went in to pay a traffic ticket in Martin County.
R.H. is from Guatemala, and was pulled over and ticketed for driving without a license. Trying to be a good person, she went into the Sheriff’s Office to pay that ticket – but instead was handcuffed, arrested and thrown in jail. Friends paid her $750 bond for the traffic matter, but she still wasn’t released. Legal Aid sent a letter to the Martin County Sheriff explaining they were in violation of R.H.’s 4th amendment rights by holding her without probable cause after she posted bond. But the Martin County Sheriff refused to release her, continuing to hold her before turning her over to ICE.
According to immigration court records, there was an order of deportation from 2014 because she didn’t show up to a court hearing in Chicago. The reason? She was in the hospital giving birth to her son. Fast forward to 2018, and after picking her up from Martin County, ICE detained her at the Broward Transitional Center (BTC) in Pompano Beach. ICE told her she would be immediately deported despite the fact that she has young U.S. citizen children here.
Legal Aid filed an application for a stay of removal and a motion to reopen her removal proceedings based on a pending petition for immigration relief which, if approved, will allow her to obtain her green card. Unfortunately, R.H. remains detained at BTC and separated from her young children in the meantime. Attorney Urrutia also filed a formal request for her release with ICE. “We requested ICE to release our client under reasonable conditions which may include bond, GPS monitoring, and/or supervision.” said Urrutia. “Right now, her kids are in a fragile state and they don’t understand. Every time they see her they cry and ask her to come with them. They want her to come home.”
The children are two, three, and nine years old, and the youngest two are U.S. citizens. Right now, they are staying with their paternal grandmother who brings them to the detention center to their mother once a week. Even then, she only gets to see them for about an hour.
“She has no criminal history besides driving without a license,” added Urrutia. “We are trying to do what is right and give R.H. the opportunity to legalize her status. Her children are of tender age and need her care.”
R.H. has been detained at BTC for nearly a month and has told Urrutia she wants to make all right with the law.
Legal Aid Service of Broward County is a not-for-profit law firm established in 1973. Our mission is to provide high quality free civil legal advice, representation and education to the poor of Broward County so as to improve the lifestyle and living conditions of the low-income community and to encourage self-sufficiency.
Legal Aid Service of Broward County is a 501(c)(3) corporation registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer services #SC-02337. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free 1-800-435-7352 within the state OR VISITING WWW.FRESHFROMFLORIDA.COM. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the State.
*Jonathan Urrutia! He is currently advocating to get his client, a mother of three young children, freed from immigration detention and reunited with her children. He is fighting to keep her from being deported. As part of this advocacy, he reached out to the media, who published a story about it.