An attorney representing a pregnant mother and her family suffered a broken foot, as well as other cuts and bruises, after an ICE agent shoved her to lock her out of a building and keep her separated from her clients.
The assault happened early Tuesday morning at an ICE Enforcement and Removal Operation field office in Kansas City, reported WDAF.
After weeks of separation, a 3-year-old boy named Noah was to be reunited with his mother, Kenia Bautista. Two immigration attorneys were to meet with ICE agents to hand over the child, but ICE agents decided not to follow their agreement.
Bautista and her husband had been living in Texas, but were arrested after being asked for proof of citizenship when stopped by Missouri Highway Patrol in May as they traveled to pick up a relative in Iowa.
The family’s lawyer, Andrea Martinez, questioned why the couple would have been asked for proof of citizenship.
“I don’t know about you but when I get stopped, that doesn’t happen to me or the passengers in my car,” said Martinez.
An order for removal was issued when Kenia accidentally missed an immigration court hearing, and she has been in ICE custody awaiting deportation without her child.
“He thought his mom abandoned him,” Martinez said. “And we were real excited he was going to get reunited with her.”
Luis and the attorneys brought Noah to the ICE office to be deported to Honduras with his mother. Upon arriving, ICE agents told the attorneys the exchange had to take place inside the building. When the attorneys tried to follow their client inside, an ICE agent assaulted Martinez, breaking her right foot and cutting her left foot and knee.
“He was excited to see his mom. Really missed his mom and to have that moment be so tarnished by an ICE officer assaulting us, it really scared him and I think further traumatized him,” Martinez said.
Martinez was eventually allowed to see her clients, but questions how ICE treats immigrants when they are not on camera.
“If with cameras rolling and 20 or 30 activists watching, ICE does this, pushes an attorney down onto the ground and breaks her foot, imagine what they’re doing when nobody is watching,” said Megan Galicia, an attorney with Martinez’s firm.
ICE released a statement, suggesting they will look into the incident:
“Early this morning an incident occurred at the Kansas City ICE office while ICE ERO officers were attempting to reunite a mother with a family member. We take any allegations against ICE personnel very seriously and are looking into the matter. Until a review of the documentary evidence is completed, ICE can issue no further public comment on the matter.”
Kenia and Noah are being sent to Honduras without their suitcases ICE agents refused to let them have. Luis was also detained by ICE and is being kept in a central Missouri jail.
“The truth is this injustice and this family separation is a problem right here in Kansas City and around the interior of the country just like it is on the border,” Martinez said.
Kenia’s attorneys believe she has a good case for asylum because of a history of abuse by her police officer ex-husband. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recently announced that domestic violence is no longer an acceptable reason for someone to seek asylum.