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Rally breaks out at LA high school to protest university student’s detention by ICE agents

Mike Szymanski | June 8, 2017



Roosevelt High School protest. (via Twitter)

*UPDATED

Protesters gathered at an East Los Angeles high school Thursday afternoon after students took to Twitter with #FreeClaudia over the detainment of an undocumented university student who was arrested in front of her home in Boyle Heights.

On Friday morning, a San Diego judge ordered the release of 22-year-old Claudia Rueda on her own recognizance, but her deportation case is continuing.

The rally was called to motivate people before Friday’s immigration hearing at the Otay Mesa Detention Center.

Rueda, a student at Cal State Los Angeles, was seized in front of her home early in the morning of May 19 as she moved her family’s car to comply with street parking regulations in her East Los Angeles neighborhood. The arrest may have been in retaliation for her activism on immigration rights, according to California Teachers Association President Eric C. Heins.

“Educators are deeply troubled by the unjust detention of Claudia,” Heins said in a statement. “Claudia, who has lived in the United States most of her life, appears to have been targeted in retaliation for her activism on immigration rights and other issues, including the recent arrest of her own mother on drug charges that immigration officials later admitted were baseless.”

Heins said he was concerned that arrests will continue to create fear in all classrooms because of the Trump administration’s policies regarding immigrants. It is another incident of a Los Angeles family being separated that has received national attention. In February, a girl recorded her dad being arrested after he dropped another daughter off at school. LA Unified passed a series of resolutions declaring the district safe for immigrants, stating they would not cooperate with ICE or the Trump administration in rounding up undocumented students or their families.

“This type of action by the new administration is contributing to a climate of unease and fear in K-12 classrooms and on college/university campuses in California and across the nation,” said Heins, who leads the 325,000-member teachers association. “No student should have to live in fear of being uprooted from his or her home or of losing a family member to raids like the one that has ensnared Ms. Rueda. We denounce such crackdowns.”

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García reacted on Twitter: “We do not arrest people for speaking up for those who don’t have a voice or for doing what is right, just and courageous. #FreeClaudia.”

Two dozen teachers, parents, and students gathered early Thursday afternoon at Roosevelt High School, where Rueda took college prep classes. Plans then were to move to an evening rally. Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for Rueda’s freedom.

 

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* This article has been updated with the student’s release. 

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