Man’s de­ten­tion by ICE de­cried

Or­ga­ni­za­tion says case is proof au­thor­i­ties are es­ca­lat­ing ef­forts

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - News - Jesse Garza

The de­ten­tion of a Wauke­sha County man af­ter he was cited for driv­ing with­out a li­cense is proof that law en­force­ment and im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials are us­ing mi­nor traf­fic vi­o­la­tions as a pipe­line to de­port peo­ple in the coun­try illegally, an im­mi­grant rights group said Tues­day.

The ar­rest and pos­si­ble de­por­ta­tion of Franco D. Fer­reyra, 29, also re­veals an ex­pan­sion of border en­force­ment poli­cies to the in­te­rior of the na­tion to tar­get the fam­i­lies of those im­mi­grants, ac­cord­ing to Vo­ces de la Fron­tera.

“He has no crim­i­nal record,” Vo­ces Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Chris­tine Neu­mann-Or­tiz said at a news con­fer­ence in front of the Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment office on Mil­wau­kee’s lower east side.

“We are here to call for his re­lease and for an end to this cruel es­ca­la­tion ... against peo­ple who are very much part of the fab­ric of our com­mu­nity.”

Fer­reyra, who was brought to the U.S. as a child from Argentina by his par­ents and has lived in Wis­con­sin since 2001, grad­u­ated from Wauke­sha South High School in 2006, works as a waiter in Wauke­sha and is the fa­ther of four U.S.-born chil­dren.

He was cited for driv­ing while in­tox­i­cated in 2013 and was sub­se­quently ad­vised by an at­tor­ney not to ap­ply for res­i­dency sta­tus un­der the fed­eral De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram, or DACA, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Vo­ces.

He was cited for driv­ing with­out a li­cense by Wauke­sha po­lice in Septem­ber, pleaded guilty to the vi­o­la­tion in Jan­uary and paid a $217 fine, ac­cord­ing to state court records.

ICE agents even­tu­ally showed up look­ing for him at his home and his work, prompt­ing him to re­port to the ICE office with an at­tor­ney in Fe­bru­ary, Neu­man­nOr­tiz said.

At that time, he was al­lowed to re­main free un­til a sub­se­quent meet­ing with ICE of­fi­cials Mon­day and was also al­lowed to ob­tain a driver’s li­cense in the in­terim, at­tor­ney Matthew Luen­ing said.

But both he and Luen­ing were caught off guard Mon­day when ICE of­fi­cials told him he wouldn’t be go­ing home and he was not al­lowed to see his fam­ily, Luen­ing said.

“I said, ‘He’s done ev­ery­thing you guys told him to do,’ “Luen­ing said.

“I said give him a chance to hug and kiss his kids. I’ll bring him back to­mor­row.”

It was not clear Tues­day whether Fer­reyra was ar­rested at the time of the ci­ta­tion or booked into the Wauke­sha County Jail.

The Wauke­sha County Sher­iff ’s Office is sched­uled this month to be­gin par­tic­i­pa­tion in the fed­eral 287g pro­gram which grants au­thor­i­ties the power to en­force im­mi­gra­tion laws, pri­or­i­tiz­ing the ar­rest and de­ten­tion of “crim­i­nal aliens, par­tic­u­larly those who pose the great­est risk to pub­lic safety.”

Sher­iff Eric Sev­er­son has stressed that the pro­gram would tar­get peo­ple who are com­mit­ting crimes.

“They have jailed some­one who is an an­gel,” Fer­reyra’s fa­ther, Al­fredo Fer­reyra, said at the news con­fer­ence.

“I’m beg­ging on the part of his fam­ily” for his re­lease, he said.

Fer­reyra’s ex-wife, Alysha Fer­reyra, said their four daugh­ters, ages 9 and younger, are fear­ful that she also will be taken from them.

“It’s not fair to take a fa­ther away from his chil­dren,” she said.

“They love him. They need their fa­ther and Franco needs to be here with them.”

Franco Fer­reyra now plans to ap­ply for res­i­dency sta­tus un­der DACA and a pe­ti­tion call­ing his re­lease has been launched, Luen­ing and Neu­manOr­tiz said.

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