ICE detained undocumented woman in Texas after she reported her abusive partner

Posted February 18, 2017

While many are frightened by these latest actions, for the people who fight against domestic violence, it is especially chilling and provides another hurdle for protecting victims. Bernal said she wasn't aware of the complaint. She said the detainment was an isolated incident.

Bernal is not alone in those these fears.

Bernal believes that the agents were likely acting on a tip from the woman's alleged abuser, who is now in jail.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement SWAT officer.

ICE Central Region communications director Carl Rusnok said in a statement that Gonzalez had been arrested after agents received a tip from another law enforcement agency "indicating that a previously deported felon had illegally re-entered the United States". The information stated that the individual was residing at the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence.

Its narrative differs, however, from what Bernal unearthed in her investigation in a key respect.

As Gonzales left she was arrested - and there are two separate stories of how it happened. Six ICE officers were waiting for the woman inside the building, Bernal explained.

The arrest comes at a time of heightened concerns that under the administration of President Donald Trump, ICE is expanding who it tries to deport and how it goes about deporting them.

El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza said Thursday that the arrest sends a "horrible message to the victims of domestic violence on whether or not they're actually going to have the ability to seek justice in our courthouse".

"Our job is if that victim has been subjected to violence and is likely to be subjected to serious bodily injury in the immediate future ... to offer protection for that victim regardless of her criminal history", Bernal said.

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Ms Bernal told several news outlets that hte person who tipped off the agents may have been the woman's alleged abuser, Mario Alberto De Avila.

In 2016, the woman contacted the police three times alleging that her partner had chased her with a knife in addition to punching, kicking, and choking her.

Judge Gutierrez said ICE agents should avoid effectively assisting domestic abusers by acting on their tips against their partners.

Through our work at the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline), we know that perpetrators of domestic violence use a wide range of abusive behaviors to control their partners and prevent them from seeking help.

She said she can not provide the survivors with assurance that this incident was a one-off, though she is telling them that the center and county officials will do "everything in our powers" to make sure they are safe and protected.

According to their website, the ICE does not consider courthouses to be sensitive locations.

"At approximately 9:30 a.m., (federal agents) observed Gonzalez exiting the El Paso County Courthouse and proceeded to walk along the sidewalk along San Antonio Ave.", the affidavit says. Sick? Awful, ' she said.

"The legislation was meant to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime, and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity", according to the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services website. Victims are beaten down physically and emotionally and reluctant to come forward without the fear of arrest, she said.

Experts nationwide said the case set a unsafe precedent and might deter undocumented immigrants from reporting crimes to authorities.