A DACA recipient from Chicago spent three nights in a cramped cell after he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers while taking care of a minor traffic violation. The experience left him feeling that he and those detained alongside him were more like "animals" than "humans" to ICE officials.
Christian Gomez Garcia, a 29-year-old Dreamer, said he was at the Skokie Courthouse for a misdemeanor traffic violation Monday when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detained him. He said he was then transported to the Kenosha County Detention Center in Wisconsin, where he was held in a cell with 16 other men.
“They treat people like they’re animals, we’re not humans to them,” Gomez Garcia said Thursday morning after his release. He wasn’t told that he was being let go but was woken up at 4 a.m. and taken to Chicago “with no explanation,” he said.
The college student said the experience was "horrible":
“You’re in a cell, you can’t move, you don’t see light, and the only thing you can do is walk around in circles so you get some exercise,” he said. “You’re there with a couple people, with just a bed and a toilet, just walking around, chatting with people, trying to waste some time and trying to get in contact with your family.”
Though it is unclear who alerted ICE to his whereabouts, Gomez Garcia's attorney believes it was someone in the local police department who turned him in. The Skokie Police Department said it was "confident" that the call did not come from any of its officers.
Juan Soliz, Gomez Garcia’s lawyer, said his client has no criminal record and Cook County’s sanctuary ordinance was violated when he was detained.
“He should have never been arrested, unfortunately someone in the Skokie Police Department or the Skokie courts reported him to ICE,” he said. “This is happening every day, unfortunately.”