MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities family feels they’re paying a huge price for standing up for immigrants’ rights.
Last month, Luis Candela Gonzalez was taken into custody. His attorney says Candela came to the U.S. illegally, but they believe he was targeted for arrest because his wife Sandra was featured in a newspaper article last month, standing up for immigrants’ rights.
ICE tells us they make arrests based on the threat someone is to security. Luis Candela’s attorney says he did enter the country illegally, the father of three is not a threatening person.
The phone is the only way this couple of 16 years connects these days. A saga that was detailed in this 6 minute documentary that’s been viewed 26,000 times.
Luis’ family says he was on the right track in life, an active father and talented chef. He got in trouble a decade ago for a robbery, serving seven months, a case that’s closed.
He came to the U.S. from Mexico.
“My parents came here for job opportunities, for security and being here we can bring our families and have a better future for our children,” the couple’s oldest daughter Cindy said.
Perhaps as a sign of hope, the couple named their youngest daughter “America.” Last month, Luis left his New Brighton home heading to work in Arden Hills when ICE agents took him in for his undocumented status. Luis’ wife and daughters sat down to tell us what life’s been like for the past month.
“It feels kind of sad, just very sad. He’s kinda like the head of the family let’s say, he brings in everything,” Sandra said via her daughter Cindy.
Sandra and her attorney say because she was featured in a Star Tribune article, her husband was targeted for arrest.
“My dad was the 15th arrest, because of us raising our voice,” Cindy said.
Cindy and her sisters have barely gone to school since the arrest happened, afraid if they leave home, their mother will be taken, too.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar told WCCO she doesn’t know the ins and outs of this case but spoke in general terms.
“We’re always concerned when even the possibility is raised that people have been targeted. You want to have enforcement but you don’t want to have unfair enforcement,” Klobuchar said.
“So there’ve been some cases around the state that are of concern. I think it’s more reason than ever that we must get the Dreamer legislation through next week. It won’t solve all of these problems but it will at least be a strong support for people that came over here through no fault of their own.”
Monday the Candelas will find out if Luis can be released on bond, a legal step in a future that’s completely unknown.
ICE did not comment to us on the specifics of this case. They did remind us of their policy saying:
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. However, as ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
The Candela family is trying desperately to raise $10,000 to try and bail Luis out Monday. Friends have set up a GoFundMe that already has $6,000.
We will let you know what happens in court Monday.