Immigration Judge Releases MN Man After Confrontation with Metro Transit Police Officer

Immigration Judge Releases MN Man After Confrontation with Metro Transit Police Officer

An immigration judge in Minnesota has released a man facing deportation after a Metro Transit police officer apprehended him in a highly publicized incident. Ariel Vences-Lopez, a Mexican immigrant who crossed the border in 2012, was given a $5,000 bond that would allow him to be released from detention while he pursues a special type of visa. U visas, which have grown in popularity in recent years, are designed to assist crime victims who cooperate with law enforcement officials. Vences-Lopez was traveling via Metro Transit when a transit officer checking fares asked him if he was present in the country illegally. A fellow passenger videotaped the encounter and posted it online, where about 1.5 million people viewed it. The transit officer ultimately used a taser to subdue Vences-Lopez and arrested him for fare evasion, obstructing an officer, and giving a false name. Authorities later dropped these charges, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers took Vences-Lopez into custody shortly following his arrest. According to Vences-Lopez, he failed to pay his light-rail fare because he had been assaulted and robbed in the days just prior to the incident with the transit officer. He reportedly failed to notify law enforcement authorities of the assault and robbery out of fear of calling attention to his lack of a legal immigration status. Although Vences-Lopez initially agreed to be deported soon after his arrest, an immigration attorney agreed to represent him pro bono in order to reopen his deportation case. In setting bond, the immigration judge found that Vences-Lopez was likely to be eligible for a U visa. In the meantime, a local church has agreed to offer him temporary refuge, and he will be able to apply for a work permit while his case is pending. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we are dedicated to protecting the rights of noncitizens while detained and working toward release from detention, regardless of the type of deportation charges an individual may be facing. We know how to evaluate your case, explore your options, and provide you with the strongest defense against removal possible. Contact your California deportation defense attorneys today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.
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