San Bernardino mom detained by ICE suing federal agency

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- A San Bernardino mom said Friday she's taken the first steps to sue the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the county sheriff's department after being detained by ICE agents.

Guadalupe Placencia said back in March she was wrongfully detained and held by ICE agents despite informing them of her citizenship status.

She said she understands mistakes are made, but the way she was treated by federal agents was inhumane and humiliating.

It all started on March 28th when she and her daughter visited the Ontario Police Department to pick up a registered firearm. She said while waiting, she was suddenly detained and later told it was for a bench warrant for failure to appear in court as a witness 10 years earlier.

Placencia said while in police custody, she was asked to sign documents acknowledging that officials with ICE have inquired about her status. She said she questioned the document and was told it would all be cleared up, but hours later, she said she was handed over to federal agents.

She said while telling federal agents she was a U.S. citizen, they told her that until the case was cleared, she was nobody.

"I think that was really wrong. I really didn't think this kind of treatment really does happen," her daughter, Dulce Sepulveda, said.

Hours later, Placencia was released after the family took her passport to the ICE agency office in San Bernardino.

Eyewitness News reached out to ICE. In a statement, the agency said: "ICE would never knowingly take enforcement action against or detain an individual if there was evidence indicating the person was a U.S. citizen. Should such information come to light, the agency will take immediate action to address the matter."

San Bernardino sheriff's officials said they do not inquire about immigration status and do not notify ICE or transfer inmates to ICE custody.

The family has filed a claim against ICE and San Bernardino County. They are seeking $200,000 in damages.
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