Donald Trump has been promising to build a wall along the Southern border of the U.S. Now, apparently, all it takes to get detained by immigration at a Trump rally is being a Latina. On Saturday, Donald Trump protesters managed to shut down a major roadway in Arizona, blocking access to a Trump rally taking place in Phoenix. A handful of the protesters ended up being arrested for their participation in the non-violent demonstration. According to local officials, including the infamous Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, those people were arrested for blocking traffic, not protesting Trump.
Among the protesters arrested was Jacinta Gonzalez, reports ThinkProgress. She protested Donald Trump by locking her neck to a truck blocking the highway with a U-lock. While she was one of the several protesters arrested for their participation in the Donald Trump protest, her fellow activists were processed and released within a few hours. Jacinta Gonzalez, however, was not released. Rather, she was held overnight following her participation in the Donald Trump protest, transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, detained, and questioned regarding her “immigration status.”
The problem? Despite having a Hispanic name and being a Latina, Gonzalez is a citizen of the United States.
Check out her version of events.
According to the detained Latina Donald trump protester, her activist colleagues, who were white, were released around midnight Sunday. Gonzalez, who works for Mijente, an immigrant rights group, said that in addition to being detained by ICE, she was questioned about her citizenship.
“But as a Latina with a Latina surname, I was the only person interviewed by ICE, and they placed an immigration detainer against me.”
The Trump protester said that she refused to answer any such questions.
“I’m invoking my constitutional right to remain silent and I want an attorney present.”
The Donald Trump protester says that her experience, which she calls “profiling,” is precisely what Donald Trump is trying to promote with his suggested policies. She believes that because she asserted her civil right to peaceful protest, she was retaliated against. She went on to state that immigration holds are supposed to be reserved for violent offenders.
“I’m a fierce believer in the Constitution, and I don’t believe they have the right to interview people without a lawyer present. It’s extremely alarming, and it even violates ICE’s own policy. They are not supposed to put an immigration hold on people convicted of non-violent offenses.”
As part of her traumatic experience following her participation in the Donald Trump protest, Gonzalez was shackled, handcuffed, and transported by van to an ICE field office early Sunday. Once at the location, she was fingerprinted. It was only then that the officials detaining her realized that despite being a Latina, she is also a U.S. citizen. She was then released from custody without further incident.
The Donald Trump protester presumes that ICE was able to confirm her identity through her fingerprints by matching them to her U.S. passport data.
Maricopa County Detective Doug Matteson verified that the Donald Trump protester was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for the part she played in blocking the roadway during the Trump protest, as well as for “refusing to disperse.” However, he swears that Gonzalez was “targeted” by ICE.
“Everyone that enters Maricopa County Jail, whether it’s for spitting on the sidewalk or for murder, you are seen by ICE. They interview everyone — male, female, black, white — and for some reason they put a hold on her. They always operate in our jail facility. It’s not like she was singled out.”
Detective Matteson’s denial of Gonzalez’ targeting, however, doesn’t really mesh with the Latina Donald Trump protester’s version of events. Remember, according to her, her white colleagues were arrested and booked into the county jail for the same reason she was, and they weren’t held overnight and transported by ICE to a field office for further investigation into their immigration statuses.
Indeed, Maricopa county has a history of systematic racial profiling against Hispanics. Courts have found Sheriff Joe and his department have been guilty of such practices, and as ThinkProgress reported back in 2014, the county was ordered to implement sweeping changes to its policy of targeting and profiling Hispanics. The cost to taxpayers to undo the racial profiling practices? Over $20 million.
“Under a federal judge’s May 2013 ruling, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his officers must implement changes, like improving training and technology equipment, to show that the sheriff’s office will no longer systemically single out Latinos during traffic and immigration stops.”
Sheriff Joe Arpaio is also an avowed supporter of Donald Trump.
Today, Arizona voters, as well as voters in Utah and Idaho, will be hitting the polls to vote in their state’s respective primary elections. Gonzalez, Donald Trump protester and Latina U.S. citizen-turned-ICE detainee, had some words for her fellow constituents to consider before casting their ballots.
“The profiling I experienced shows what Trump is trying to promote. We are really alarmed not only by Trump’s campaign but the space he’s opened up for other people to spew hatred and implement racist policies.”
The Donald Trump campaign has not commented on the detainment of the Latina protester in the wake of his Arizona rallies.
[Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images]