Local fieldworker claims she was wrongfully detained by ICE

VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A local fieldworker claims U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers needlessly threatened her while detaining her and wants to take action.

Maria De Los Angeles Soto-Arreola spent six weeks in detention and was only released Thursday night.

It's the way the case was handled that caught the attention of an immigration attorney.

On March 28 around 6:15 a.m., video shows ICE officers trying to get 28-year-old Soto-Arreola out of her car. She was in her driveway, headed to work. She's a field-hand who picks strawberries.

Apprehensive, not knowing what was going on, she, at first, refused.

ICE officers called Oxnard police officers for backup. That's when, the attorney says, ICE officers threatened Soto-Arreola's mother and told Mexican-born Soto-Arreola if she didn't go with them, they would say she tried to run them over.

The woman has no criminal history and is in the process of applying for a U-visa, which would keep her working in the U.S.

Attorney Erika Roman-Maury took the case pro bono, saying Soto-Arreola is a victim of unlawful arrest.

"ICE had no right to be on her property. She is not a criminal. She does not have any misdemeanors, she does not have any felonies. She has zero criminal history," said Roman-Maury, adding that ICE officers physically assaulted, harassed and defamed her client.

A judge released Soto-Arreola on a low bond, not finding the 28-year-old a threat.

ICE released a statement to Eyewitness News, saying in part: "Ms. Soto-Arreola, a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the US, was taken into custody by ICE Fugitive Operations Team officers on March 28, following a dangerous encounter involving Ms. Soto-Arreola's attempt to run over one of the ICE officers with her vehicle."

But Roman-Maury said the video speaks for itself, and she's working on getting her hearing dismissed.
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