Family released from ICE custody speaks out

Mother, daughter describe detention center

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Two members of the Tucson family detained by Border Patrol last week have been released from ICE custody.

On Tuesday, March 19, Glenda de la Vega Fernandez, her husband Jesus Torres, and their 12-year-old daughter were pulled over by an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper due to a traffic violation at 22nd Street and 9th Avenue. That trooper than requested the Tucson Sector Border Patrol to come to the scene and investigate.

According to DPS, the car was not registered to either of the adult occupants, and a DPS vehicle theft task force detective was called to help determine if the vehicle was stolen. DPS's statement goes on to say:

The female driver provided documents inconsistent with the vehicle’s registration as well as foreign identification the trooper suspected may have been potentially fraudulent. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was called to help determine the authenticity of the foreign identification.

All three are in the US illegally and had spent the last 11 years living in Tucson.

At a press conference on Thursday, March 28 at the Southside Presbyterian Church, Fernandez stood with her daughter and described what it was like while in custody.

Fernandez said they were separated from the start and given thin blankets. She described the rooms as being cold and cramped, guessing roughly 20 women were also inside with her.

Her daughter was kept in a separate room with other girls, ranging in age from 11-18. Glenda said the boys and girls were kept separate and that the rooms were cramped as well.

“Because the rooms are really full of girls, girls were sleeping next to the toilets.” said Fernandez.

Fernandez said they were given juice, crackers, water, and burritos. A lot of the migrants being held have a hard time stomaching the food, which is why Fernandez hardly ate. She encouraged her daughter to eat some crackers.

The three were released from ICE Custody last Thursday, March 21 and taken on a bus to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Tucson Field Office.

That's when she realized not all of them were going to be released. Fernandez said agents did not originally tell her that Jesus was being deported, just that his case was going to be different.

Fernandez said they handcuffed his hands, waist, and feet in front of them and later deported him back to Mexico.

She was able to see her husband before he left.

KOLD News 13 reached out to Border Patrol for a statement regarding their release and deportation, but they responded saying they did not have a public comment on the matter.

Glenda said her husband’s future is uncertain, much like their own.

"We still have to go through the process to see what will be the decision made with myself and my daughter.” said Fernandez.

Glenda and Jesus have two other sons who are U.S. citizens.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.