Father randomly detained by ICE while on his way to work, family says

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Family says dad detained by ICE is not a criminal

Six-year-old Justin held on tightly to a poster that reads, 'Stop Separating Families.' As he heard his mother, Marcela Rivera, talk about the day his father was detained by ICE, he began to cry.

"It seems to be a more common practice now. Immigration is looking for a certain individual. They enter an apartment complex and they start questioning people that are gathered there," said Cesar Espinoza, with FIEL, an immigration advocacy group in Houston.

FIEL is working with the family's lawyer, hoping to stop Carlos Gudiel's deportation.

The organization said he was randomly profiled Jan. 19 as he was on his way to work. His wife, Rivera, said he was loading up his work tools when ICE showed up supposedly looking for someone in particular. Instead, they took her husband and one of his coworkers. That was the last time 14-year-old Erick saw his father.

"I didn't know what to think," Erick recalled. "He wasn't doing anything bad. He was going to work so he can help us."

FIEL said Gudiel had a deportation order from 2005, but because of an administration order at the time, he missed his court date.

However, the organization said that was not the reason why ICE showed up. Espinoza said ICE didn't notice the deportation order until after he was detained.

"My husband is not a criminal," cried out Rivera in Spanish.

Rivera said her husband is the sole provider for the family, and now she doesn't know what she will do. She can't work, because she has to take care of their infant daughter and their special needs son.

Eyewitness News reached out to the ICE office in Houston. In terms of Carlos Gudiel's arrest, a spokeswoman said:

On Jan. 19, 2018, deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) encountered and arrested Carlos Gudiel Andres-Elias in the parking lot of his Houston residence, which was identified as part of a targeted enforcement operation. Andres-Elias, a citizen of Guatemala, illegally entered the country Dec. 10, 2005, and was deported on Dec. 30, 2005. In February 2006, he illegally re-entered the United States, which is a felony. He remains in ICE custody pending the disposition of his immigration case.

ICE also mentions, "During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter other aliens illegally present in the United States. These aliens are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and, when appropriate, they are arrested by ICE officers. Depending on an alien's criminality, an alien who re-enters the United States after having been previously deported commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, if convicted."

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