ECHO PARK (CBSLA) — A local woman was taken into custody this weekend by two men dressed as ICE agents, and video has surfaced that captured intense moments as neighbors tried to intervene.
The video shows the frantic moments. You can hear Alicia Rivera repeatedly asking the men to show her a “signed order” from a judge validating the arrest.
In the clip, she can be repeatedly heard saying, “It’s not signed by a judge, you shouldn’t be arresting this woman.”
“They closed their folder, and they asked me not to intervene and I said, ‘I’m a neighbor and I want to see if you have an order from a judge, you can’t arrest this woman without it,’ ” Rivera recounted.
Rivera says she and her son jumped into action at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday when they heard raised voices outside. They say they saw their neighbor in handcuffs, pleading with the two ICE agents after she went to move her car. They believe the agents were waiting for her.
A community organizer, Rivera says she and her son know their rights, and the rights of the undocumented community. But witnessing an ICE raid on their own street by men in unmarked cars has left them shaken.
“You’re like ‘Whoa.’ If they’re gonna come for them, just like that … just like that in five minutes … they took her. Just like that in five minutes … ten minutes, they took her. Boom. Just like that, in unmarked cars and they tell you, ‘We don’t have to show you anything.’ They just leave a note, a number to call,” said Victor Bowman-Rivera of Echo Park.
Neighbors say the woman taken into custody told them that she came here when she was 3 years old from Guatemala. She told them she has been a permanent resident for years, and she applied for citizenship 6 months ago. But when she went for her appointment with immigration officers, they told her they lost her paperwork.
CBS Los Angeles tried to talk to her husband but he was too scared to speak on camera. He told Rivera that the mother of his two young children had a marijuana possession charge from when she was in her 20s. But the couple believed they’d taken care of it in anticipation of her applying for citizenship. They now believe the application exposed her to Sunday’s raid.
“I wish I had thought better, faster and do something that was more dramatic that would, that would have tried to stop them from, or at least call attention to this issue,” Rivera said.
An ICE spokeswoman did not confirm Sunday’s arrest specifically but issued a statement saying:
“ICE officers make arrests every day in the course of carrying out their mission to uphold public safety. As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who post a threat to national security, public safety, and border security.”