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Legal Latino Says He Was Mistakenly Detained It Open Season On Latino's ?

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- The Allentown man who says he was wrongfully detained by immigration officials is speaking out.

"I'm still shocked every time I think about it. It's like how could this happen," said Allentown resident Ernesto Galarza.

36-year-old Ernesto Galarza was born in New Jersey, but two years ago he was locked up in Lehigh County Prison, because he says, authorities thought he was an illegal immigrant. "These people just took it into their hands to decide where I was from, without asking me," said Galarza.

The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit on his behalf against the city of Allentown, Lehigh County, and federal officials.

"Mistakes like this cannot be allowed. This county does not allow detention based on race," said ACLU spokesperson Valerie Burch.

Galarza says on November 20, 2008 police mistakenly picked him up during a drug sweep.

He was transferred to Lehigh County Prison.

Galarza says he posted bail the next day.

"When I'm walking out I see the door opening, that put a smile on my face, but then it starts closing again. I'm like what, what happened," said Galarza.

Galarza was told he was being detained, but he wasn't told why until three days later when he met with a counselor.

"I also told the counselor in my wallet you guys got my driver's license, my Social Security card with my name on it," said Galarza.

When he met with ICE that same day, that's when he says, officials realized their mistake and let him go.

Galarza says he's still stunned by what happened.

"I don't want nobody else to be in my shoes especially when you're born in the United States," said Galarza.

Meantime, ICE declined to comment about the case.

Allentown officials say they're currently reviewing the lawsuit

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I see no issue. A drug bust happened. He was picked up as a criminal thought he was part of it. crap happens should be glad the police are doing their jobs and accept accidents happen. He's then detained as an illegal and his papers are in question more likely because driver's liscenses mean crap as anyone can get one legally including illegals. SS cards mean little as they are not an observed form of federal ID but simply an assisting form of ID with when a proper picture ID. ICE came in on his case apologized for the mix up and let him go.

    Instead he should be sue'ing the illegal latino community for making his life so hard by trivializing IDs meant to prove ones identity.

    Maybe I should sue the police because I was once stopped on the street and questioned heavily because I was a white face in a part of downtime known for black crime. Racism I say, if I was black they would have ignored me but a white man at 5:30am walking to work in office cloths was to suspicious in that part of town as it was inbetween my destination and I had no car. (true story).

    Instead I thank the police as I know they have my interests as a law abiding citizen at heart, just crap happens sometimes.

  • John E
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Anything the ACLU backs has a majority interest in belittling Americans and destroying their freedoms, despite their deceptive name. Their track record clearly states that they are a special interest group interested in profiting by challenging and disempowering the majority and clearly written legal statutes.

    I think this should be filed under "$_it happens" and someone made a mistake.

    No need for the ACLU to make a precedent that requires every cop everywhere to make 50 phone calls and check 50 databases every time they have a potential illegal on their hands.

  • 1 decade ago

    Mistakes happen. That's life. At least ICE acknowledge the mistake before he was deported to who knows where. He and ACLU need to get over it. This hasn't ruined his life. He's only looking for an easy way to get money from a lawsuit. And his ACLU attorney(s) will take most of that for their fees.

    You know on the other hand... The ACLU says the same thing about illegal Latinos being here too. Even when illegal Latinos admit being here illegally. Hell, then the illegal Latinos are claiming racial profiling. Where did they learn that from!

    To add... Does ACLU know that suspected illegals can be asked for proof of documents when they are stopped? Do they know that all legal documented immigrants in the U.S. are required by law to carry their id and documents in case of that happens? Not mention that mid-wives have falsified birth certificates of illegals to say that their children were born in the U.S. when in fact they were not. I guess all that in the eyes of ACLU should be overlooked.

    What of Racial Profiling and its Application to Illegal Immigration?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, John E. I'm sure you'd feel very differently if it was you who were detailed as an illegal alien when you weren't.

    And to say that the ACLU is a special interest group out to make profit is ridiculous. I don't think you can claim that they are a special interest group when they defend everyone from minorities that have been discriminated against to far right wing skinheads who want to demonstrate. And they are certainly not getting rich by taking on pro-bono cases. All Americans have a lot to thank the ACLU for.

  • Me
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    This is actually nothing new. Every year, hundreds of legal immigrants an US citizens are mistakenly deported from the USA. Disgusting really. A modern, progressive country...that can't decipher between legal/citizen and an illegal. Sheesh. Laughable.


  • 5 years ago

    The subsequent US president must be QUALIFIED. Hopefully no longer a different who demands a delivery certificates from Hawaii, which has no penalties written into the legislation for delivering falsified files.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Wow, ONE legal latino gets detained and let go by mistake. Ohh well, I guess we better just shut down ICE and let the other half million we deported this year that we were right about back into the country.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Can't make an omlette without breaking an egg. He will get over it.

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