DACA recipient receives nearly $19K in settlement with Laguna Beach over 2018 immigration hold

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A DACA recipient received nearly $19,000 from the city of Laguna Beach in a settlement for a case that claimed he was arrested and illegally held by police for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in 2018.

Edgar Torres Gutierrez, a student at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, is registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects some immigrants brought to this country as young children from deportation.

In the summer of 2018, Torres was arrested under the suspicion of driving under the influence.

"I acknowledge that and I am at fault for that and I am dealing with the consequences of that. What isn't correct is for police to be working with ICE to deport a DACA recipient," Torres said.

The claim, filed on his behalf by the ACLU of Southern California and the UC Irvine School of Law immigrant Rights Clinic, alleged that he was held for 15 hours in Laguna Beach and was then transferred into ICE custody.

It argued that the officers violated the California Values Act, which bans local law enforcement from detaining people at the request of ICE, also known as an ICE hold.

That resulted in the settlement reached last week. Torres pleaded guilty to reckless driving and the city of Laguna Beach paid him $18,750.

On Wednesday, his attorneys filed a separate complaint with the Laguna Beach Police Department, which is expected to trigger an internal investigation into the circumstances that led to his detention and transfer to ICE.

Eyewitness News reached out to an attorney representing Laguna Beach, but he said the city declined to comment.
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