In 2017, California legislators passed the California Values Act into law. Also known colloquially as California’s ‘sanctuary state law’, the law provides important legal protections to immigrants by restricting the cooperation between state/local law enforcement agencies and federal immigration authorities.
According to a report from The Orange County Register, a 31-year-old Salvadoran immigrant has filed a lawsuit against the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for violating the law. Below, our Los Angeles immigration lawyer explains what we know about the legal claim brought against the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Allegations: Orange County Police Violated California’s Sanctuary State Law
A Southern California man named Kelvin Hernandez Roman filed a lawsuit against the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for allegedly alerting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to his whereabouts and immigration status. Subsequently, Mr. Hernandez Roman was detained by ICE and held in the Adelanto ICE Processing Center for approximately nine months. Tragically, he missed the birth of a son, a native-born American citizen, while he was being detained in custody.
A representative for Mr. Hernandez Roman told reporters that they hope that legal action will ensure that “no other Orange County resident will have to experience what he did.” Notably, this is not the first time that this specific law department has faced allegations that it is actively trying to get around California state law. In 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Orange County Sheriff’s Office immediately started exploiting a loophole in California’s sanctuary state law.
A Separate Lawsuit Was Filed Against ICE for Medical Negligence
The Orange County Register reports that Kelvin Hernandez Roman was released from immigration custody earlier this summer after a COVID-19 outbreak in the Adelanto ICE facility. A number of immigrants have been set free from immigration detention facilities based on judicial orders. Prior to COVID-19, American immigration detention facilities were already overcrowded. Federal agencies have been very slow in bringing social distancing practices and sanitizing measures to many detention centers.
A separate lawsuit has also been filed on behalf of Mr. Hernandez Roman on the grounds that he suffered harm as a result of medical negligence. While being held in a crowded ICE facility, he fell sick with a fever and cough. Despite this, he contends he did not receive medical treatment from the agency. ICE has faced many allegations that it is mishandling COVID-19. Not only have there been major COVID-19 outbreaks in immigration detention facilities, but federal judges have determined that the agency has consistently been slow in addressing the problem.
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