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Immigration judge delays decision on bond for Ariel Vences-Lopez as supporters rally

Activists announce mobilization for continued bond hearing July 13
By staff |
July 10, 2017
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Gathering to rally before Ariel Vences-Lopez's bond hearing
Gathering to rally before Ariel Vences-Lopez's bond hearing

St. Paul, MN - More than 30 people rallied outside the Whipple Federal Building and packed the immigration court hearing today, July 10, for Ariel Vences-Lopez. They were there to oppose his deportation and support his efforts to be released from immigration detention. Vences-Lopez was the subject of a viral video showing him being improperly questioned about his immigration status during light rail transit fare check.

Outside of the federal building, before and during the hearing, members of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) and others held banners and signs reading “No more deportations.” They talked about the importance of supporting Ariel Vences-Lopez and about how his case is not an isolated incident, but just one example of the unjust immigration system that is deporting people and separating families every day.

At the hearing, the judge did not make a decision on setting Vences-Lopez’s bond, setting the next hearing for July 13 at 9 a.m. If the judge sets bond, then Vences-Lopez can get out of immigration detention while pursuing his efforts to avoid deportation and stay in the U.S.

Vences Lopez was riding the Blue Line light rail train in Minneapolis on May 14 and gained national attention after a video posted to Facebook went viral. In the video, Metro Transit police officer Andy Lamers can be seen asking Vences-Lopez, “Are you here illegally?” during what appears to be a routine fare check.

Minneapolis is supposed to be a ‘sanctuary city’ where police do not ask people about immigration status. Metro Transit, which has its own police force, claims to not ask about immigration status either, despite the viral video showing Lamers doing exactly that. In that incident, Vences-Lopez was tased three times, arrested, and then handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after he was booked into Hennepin County Jail.

After Vences-Lopez’s hearing ended, Bruce Nestor, one of the lawyers on Ariel Vences-Lopez’s legal team, addressed supporters outside to explain what happened in the hearing. Nestor said, “The judge today would not take up the issue of bond separate from trying to determine what relief he might be eligible for before the immigration judge...the long and the short of it is that we’re going to come back on Thursday for a continued bond hearing and a continued master calendar hearing.”

Members of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) then announced another rally to support Vences-Lopez outside the Whipple Federal Building at 8:30 a.m. this Thursday, July 13.