A group of demonstrators gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday in support of a street vendor and mother of five who was being held at an immigration detention center near Victorville.
Marcelina Rios, whose children are American citizens, was initially arrested Oct. 13 by a park ranger and a sheriff’s deputy for selling corn at Old Town Park in Rancho Cucamonga, according to a statement from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
After she was booked and released from jail, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents immediately took her into custody. For the last four months, she has been held at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center.
ICE issued a statement on Rios’s arrest, saying:
“Records reveal Ms. Rios illegally entered the U.S. in February, 2004, and was voluntarily returned to Mexico. In July 2004, Ms. Rios was apprehended at the border, again, illegally attempting to enter the country. She was served an order of expedited removal, and removed from the U.S. on August 2, 2010. On October 13, 2017, deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) encountered Ms. Rios at the West Valley Detention Center where she was incarcerated on a local charge, Ms. Rios was released to ICE custody and her prior removal order was reinstated.”
Rios remained under a deportation order on Thursday. Her attorney has filed a motion to reopen her case, claiming that she had ineffective counsel when she first appeared in court and did not receive a fair hearing.
“I feel lonely,” said her 19-year-old son, Robert Rios, a college student. “My mom is mostly the person that supports me right now.”
Advocates and family members said Marcelina Rios is the only person authorized to manage the healthcare of her children, one of whom has special needs.