Updated — Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in Homewood today detained a board member of Adelante Alabama Worker Center, a human rights group based in Hoover that has been active in obtaining the release of immigrant detainees.
Marcos Baltazar and his son, Juan, were detained, said Resha Swanson, Adelante policy and communications coordinator.
The two, who are immigrants, were making a routine check-in with ICE at the time of their arrest.
ICE often requires immigrants to attend check-ins to monitor their location and movement within the country as they await their day in court, Swanson said.
“Marcos and Juan had no criminal record and were doing everything in their power to comply with ICE’s requests,” according to an Adelante press release.
Adelante said that, although ICE did not break the law by detaining Marcos and Juan, their decision to detain them was not only unnecessary, but bewildering and cruel.
Three years ago, Baltazar migrated to the U.S. after losing his wife during childbirth. A victim of wage theft, he came to Adelante seeking help and was able to secure a victory through litigation, according to the press release.
Baltazar was elected to serve on Adelante’s board of directors in April.
The detention of Marcos and Juan is “a clear example of the type of intentional cruelty utilized by ICE locally and nationally to destabilize families. What happened today is an example of how swiftly ICE was able to activate terrorism,” said Gabriel Cabán Cubero, Adelante’s detention and enforcement organizer.
Soon after being detained, Marcos and Juan were transported to Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden.
This facility has frequently been cited by human rights organizations, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, as one of the worst immigrant detention centers in the nation, according to the press release.