Immigration Agents Arrest Local Business Owner, Mother of Two

Local, state and national organizations working to reunite her with her family

BIRMINGHAM, AL - On April 2nd, sheriff’s deputies in Gwinnett County, Georgia arrested longtime Alabama resident Lucy Herrera after she was pulled over for a broken taillight. Lucy, her husband and son were driving home from Atlanta. These law enforcement officers racially profiled the family and they inspected the car for drugs and placed Lucy’s son, a minor and U.S. citizen, in handcuffs. Lucy's husband and son were eventually released, but Lucy was turned over to ICE and taken to the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office has a 287(g) agreement with ICE that allows sheriffs to operate as immigration officers and to systematically target immigrants.

Lucy and her husband are small business owners. The incident has left the family shaken. “It was the night before my birthday. Little did I know that the next day would become the worst of my life. Seeing my mom beg for her freedom was something that I never thought I would have to witness, and it broke my heart,” said her son, Carlos, who is a junior in high school. Her daughter Fernanda, a DACA recipient and law student in Chicago, said, “I never would have imagined this would happen to my family—I am missing my best friend and my heart aches for my father who is missing the love of his life.” Lucy is a vital member of her community and her arrest underscores this administration’s disgraceful efforts to separate immigrant families and violate their rights.

Community activists, state and national organizations are asking for Lucy to be released from this unjust detention and working hard to make sure her children and husband are supported in this moment. “I have not seen a more blatant and aggressive case of racial profiling during my years in the immigrant rights movement,” said Sarai Portillo, Executive Director of Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice. “I have never heard of an instance of a white family being searched without probable cause and handcuffed for a broken taillight. Lucy is beloved by her community, and we will not rest until she is free.”

Lucy’s family and supporters are calling on ICE’s Atlanta Field Office Director to immediately release her, sign the petition. Lucy is also seeking a bond hearing with pro bono counsel from Adelante Alabama Worker Center.

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