ICE raid breaks up couple planning Valentine's day wedding
by Bianca Graulau and America Arias
Rosy Rios and her fiance had just celebrated their one year anniversary and were planning to take their relationship to the next level, when an early morning raid derailed their wedding plans.
Surveillance video shows four Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents hastily entering her Los Angeles County apartment on Thursday morning. The person they were looking for was not inside. But they did take an undocumented immigrant with them that morning.
“The man they came looking for was my ex-husband. He doesn’t live with me anymore” said Rios, who also happens to be the manager of the apartment complex in Van Nuys where the raid took place. She says she never thought they would take her fiance Manuel Mosqueda when she answered the door.
“They came inside without my permission, and demanded to see identifications from all of us. Including my grandchildren who were staying with me,” she recalls in spanish.
ICE agents determined that Mr. Mosqueda had a deportation order, and was living in the U.S. illegally and arrested him. “They just told me to get shoes, and a sweater for him. I didn’t get to say goodbye” Rios said in tears as she reviews the video of him being taken away. Rios said she doesn’t understand why Mosqueda was taken, claiming that he has a clean record and has never committed a crime.
Mosqueda is currently being held at the “Adelanto Detention Center” in San Bernardino County. The father of three U.S. citizens is one of hundreds of undocumented people who were rounded up during federal immigration enforcement raids in at least six states. The raids and arrests mark the first large-scale enforcement of President Donald Trump’s order to crack down on the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
Immigration officials said the recent raids in L.A. County and elsewhere targeted known criminals and gang members, but they also detained people without criminal records.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), whose lawyers are representing Mosqueda, said that’s a shift in they way ICE agents operate. Under the Obama Administration, immigration agents only went after undocumented immigrants with a record of violent crimes. All that changed last month, when President Trump allowed Homeland Security to go after people with minor offenses or no convictions at all. On twitter today, Mr. Trump defended the change tweeting “The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”
On Friday, in a conference call with reporters David Marin, ICE’s field director in the L.A. area said that "75% of the approximately 160 people detained this week had felony convictions, the rest were misdemeanors or were in the United States illegally." Marin also said that 37 out of those detained in Los Angeles had been deported to Mexico.
Luckily for Rios, her fiance is still on U.S. soil and she’s hopeful the two will be reunited again soon. Since his arrest, Mosqueda calls Rios regularly. During one phone conversation, they tell each other to be strong. “We had all the paperwork ready“ says Rios, who is a U.S. Citizen and was planning to marry Mosqueda this Tuesday on Valentine’s day. Now that wedding is on hold.