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Very Real

Immigration Lawyer Says ICE Broke Her Foot While She Tried To Reunite A Family

Andrea Martinez alleged that she was “knocked to the ground and bloodied” after handing off a child to his mother.

By Samira Sadeque

An immigration attorney in Kansas City, Missouri was allegedly beaten and locked in an office by ICE yesterday in trying to reunite a three-year-old with his mother, all slated to be deported.

Andrea Martinez said she was dropping the child off to be with his mother and her boyfriend, before they were all deported to Honduras, reports The Daily Beast. Martinez was reportedly denied access into the ICE field office when trying to head inside with the child. The mother, her boyfriend, and the child are all undocumented immigrants.

“You don’t separate any client from their lawyer, particularly not a three-year-old,” Martinez said in a video shared by The Kansas City Star.

She was “knocked to the ground and bloodied” by an ICE agent, she told The Daily Beast.  

The child’s mother, identified as Kenia Bautista-Mayorga by The Kansas City Star, reportedly crossed the border illegally in February 2016, and wished to seek asylum because of an abusive ex-husband back in Honduras. She missed a scheduled hearing later in the year, which resulted in an order of removal. She was living in Texas with her son and boyfriend, identified by The Kansas City Star as Luis Alfredo Diaz Inestroza.

She was detained in May, after being stopped by a Missouri Highway Patrol officer while travelling to Iowa. Inestroza was given two months to leave the country.

The number of Honduran immigrants in the U.S. rose by 25% between 2007 and 2015, against a 10% rise in the overall immigrant population, according to a Pew report.  

Martinez, of Martinez Immigration Law, said in The Kansas City Star video she received a call at 3:30 a.m. and was asked to bring her three-year-old client into the ICE office.

Inestroza came with them to say goodbye to his girlfriend Bautista-Mayorga, but was not comfortable walking into the office. Martinez said they had reportedly agreed, with ICE, for the farewell to take place in the parking lot. Instead Inestroza was forcefully taken inside the ICE office, she said.

When Martinez and her law partner Megan Galicia tried to accompany them, an ICE officer slammed the door on them and pushed them out.

She said he then pushed her to the ground. “I was wearing high heels, so that’s when my foot was fractured and my leg got all bloody,” she told The Daily Beast. “And then my pants ripped. But then he called me back in and detained me for another forty minutes or an hour.”

An ICE official acknowledged the incident in a statement to Oxygen.com and said: “Early the morning of June 26 an incident occurred at the Kansas City ICE office while ICE ERO officers were attempting to reunite a mother with a family member. We take any allegations against ICE personnel very seriously and are looking into the matter. Until a review of the documentary evidence is completed, ICE can issue no further public comment on the matter.”

The Daily Beast reported that a few dozen demonstrators were present outside the ICE office to protest against the deportations, and a video posted on Facebook shows protesters chanting peacefully.

The Facebook video also captured a glimpse of the attack on Martinez — as seen in the screenshot above, Martinez, wearing heels, appears to take a painful spill just as the door closes.

“Do you consider it a justification for an excessive use of force? Just the fact that there are cameras and activists standing around singing peaceful songs?” Galicia said in the video shared by The Kansas City Star. “I don’t.”

[Photo: Screenshot from a video of the demonstration outside the ICE office in Kansas City, Missouri. By Anderson Rasmussen via Facebook]