Activists: ICE ‘arbitrarily’ detains woman who had been making routine check-ins

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Marta Rodriguez looks to the heavens after leaving her appointment with ICE in May. Photo by Brandon Block.

After self-reporting in May without incident, a New Carrollton woman who appeared for her check-in with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the agency’s Baltimore field office was detained this morning.

Activists accompanied Marta Rodriguez to her May visit at 31 Hopkins Plaza after an ICE officer told her in March to bring a plane ticket to Honduras, where she migrated from, to her next check-in.

In a statement, ICE spokesperson Justine M. Whelan linked the arrest to Rodriguez’s failure to buy a ticket to Honduras.

“ICE officers arrested Maria Marta Rodriguez Echevarria, a citizen and national of Honduras unlawfully present in the U.S., during her scheduled check-in meeting because for the second time, she failed to purchase a plane ticket to depart the country in accordance with her final order of removal,” wrote Whelan.

Rodriguez has made the trip to Baltimore for the past nine years for what until recently had been routine check-ins. She has a work permit and for the past 10 years has been employed as a nanny and housekeeper for various families in the D.C. area.

Protestors chanted “you are not alone” as Marta entered the building this morning with her daughter, Yessenia Cedillo-Rodriguez. Various activist and faith groups gathered in front of the field office, leading prayers for Rodriguez and demanding her release, according to a video posted by The Real News Network.

Activists from Sanctuary DMV condemned the decision.

“The Baltimore field office chose to arbitrarily detain Marta, even though they have the discretion to let her go back to her family and community,” they wrote in a statement earlier today after Rodriguez’s detention.

Gaurav Madan, an organizer with the group, said Rodriguez’s detention reflects “how this administration’s immigration policies are devastating families and communities – not only at the border but throughout the country.

“While Maryland elected officials weighed in with ICE urging them to not detain Marta they need to go beyond rhetoric and publicly stand with those individuals and communities in their state that are coming under direct attack.”

Sanctuary DMV also accompanied Nelson Gbohoutou, an asylum-seeker from the Central African Republic (CAR), to his check-in today without incident. His brother, Prince, is currently being detained in Frederick County after, according to The Washington Post, he physically resisted deportation and was allegedly beaten after refusing to exit a van at JFK airport. Both sought refuge in the United States after their mother was murdered by political rivals in CAR, and Prince has said he fears he will be killed too if forced to return.

ICE officials did not respond to follow-up questions.

This post has been updated.



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