Support grows for North Bay man detained by immigration officials

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Support grows for North Bay man detained by ICE
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A movement is growing to support a San Rafael father of three who is being detained by ICE after he showed up for a construction job.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- A movement is growing to support a San Rafael father of three who is being detained by ICE.

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Friends, family and now a congressman want the government to release the undocumented immigrant who they say has been a valuable part of the community.

There is a petition, letters to a congressman and, support on Twitter calling this man an outstanding member of the community, not a criminal.

Hugo Mejia is a married father of three and his wife said she is afraid to be here without him.

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His community rallied for him in San Rafael on Monday.

Mejia was detained after trying to show up to a construction job. "I can't explain how I felt that day, but it was terrible, it's very terrible," Mejia's wife Yadira Munguia said.

Mejia's children went to Venetia Valley Elementary in San Rafael, and now the school and neighboring synagogue are pushing to get Mejia released and in front of a judge before he's deported.

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Munguia said on May 3rd her husband and a coworker showed up to Travis Air Force Base to do some dry wall work at a hospital and he never came home.

According to Congressman Jared Huffman, Mejia's only offense is showing up to work. "He was asked to present some ID; he presented a valid CA driver's license. They ran his taxpayer ID Number - a valid number against their database and it came up that he was undocumented," Huffman said.

Air force base security contacted immigration customs enforcement and Mejia was taken to the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center near Sacremento. "Mr. Mejia is being detained in prison conditions with violent criminals. He is a law abiding, upstanding member of this community," Huffman said.

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ICE officials said they will not be releasing him from jail and released a statement saying: "Mejia unlawfully entered the U.S. after being previously deported in 2001. Mr. Mejia will remain in ICE custody pending court proceedings. In 2001, he was caught trying to cross the border because of that previous offense. He is set for expedited deportation proceedings."

The U.S. congressman for San Rafael is asking ICE to consider giving him due process before sending him away.

Click here to read more stories on immigration.

ABC7 News reporter Kate Larsen contributed to this story.