Family members of AZ immigrant rights activist detained - WNEM TV 5


Family members of AZ immigrant rights activist detained

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(Source: CBS 5 News) Erika Andiola, left, and her mother, Maria Arreola during an interview in September with CBS 5 News. (Source: CBS 5 News) Erika Andiola, left, and her mother, Maria Arreola during an interview in September with CBS 5 News.

An Arizona immigrant rights activist said her brother was told to distance himself from her after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained him and their mother Thursday night.

Erika Andiola, leader of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, said her brother, Heriberto Andiola Arreola, was released by ICE early Friday morning, and that her mother, Maria Arreola, was still in custody.

They were taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials late Thursday night.

Amber Cargile, of ICE, confirmed that two "individuals" were detained but that one had been released.

"The other individual will be released imminently," Cargile said in a statement.

Cargile did not say which family member was released or detained, though Andiola confirmed her brother was released about 6 a.m.

Andiola said that while in custody, her brother noticed a package of documents with her profile, pictures and descriptions of her.

Andiola said her brother was told by ICE agents that they "know about your sister, we know what your sister does and you should get away from that."

Andiola said she wasn't sure what the agents meant, but believes she is possibly being targeted by ICE.

She said undercover agents came to her house about 9 p.m. Thursday and asked for her mother.

"We opened the door because they were undercover, and didn't find out they were Immigration until we opened the door,"Andiola said.

At that point, agents asked her mother to come outside and handcuffed her, Andiola said. She said they also asked her brother, who was outside talking with a neighbor, if he had identification on him and if he was an undocumented immigrant.

"He didn't want to respond, so they decided to take him," Andiola said.

Cargile maintained that agents did not target the individuals because of their family member's role with the Dream Act Coalition, and that their arrests were based on information from a prior arrest. The agency was not more specific about the reasons for the arrests.

"Although one individual had been previously removed from the country, an initial review of these cases revealed that certain factors outlined in ICE's prosecutorial discretion policy appear to be present and merit an exercise of discretion," Cargile said in the statement. "A fuller review of the cases is currently ongoing."

It was the second time in less than four months that Maria Arreola had an encounter with law enforcement.

[RELATED: Daughter: Undocumented immigrant mother's trip to jail needless]

She was detained by Mesa police officers on Sept. 22 after she was pulled over on suspicion of speeding. Maria Arreola, an admitted undocumented immigrant, did not have a driver's license.

Police said that as standard protocol, she was taken to the police station, where they were unable to find her name in the system. So they ran her through U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and ICE said to release her.

Her daughter claimed the stop was racially motivated.

Stay with and CBS 5 News as this story develops.

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