Civil rights group files complaint after Daly City transfers man to ICE after traffic stop

A civil rights organization has filed an administrative complaint with Daly City accusing the city of violating California's sanctuary law by handing a young man over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The complaint filed at City Hall by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Asian Law Caucus on Monday seeks remedies for Jose Armando Escobar-Lopez, 21, who was pulled over while driving on May 11 and questioned about his immigration status, the Daily Journal reports.

The group says Daly City police conducted an immigration investigation and then notified ICE and took Escobar-Lopez to the police station, where they facilitated his transfer to ICE. He is currently in ICE custody in Bakersfield and facing deportation to El Salvador. "It's been frustrating because he feels he doesn't have hope," friend Krisia Mendoza said Monday at a news conference.

The complaint also looks for Daly City to adopt a model policy created by the legal group that specifically stops all collaboration with ICE.

Sarah Lee, the Asian Law Caucus' community advocate for the criminal justice reform program, said Daly City's current policy is vague, and the model policy builds off of Senate Bill 54, the state's sanctuary law.

According to a statement from Daly City, city staff has a commitment to review and revise police policies and their alignment with SB 54, which prohibits police from cooperating with ICE unless the person commits a serious crime. According to the Chronicle, Escobar-Lopez does not have a criminal record, but had a 2017 deportation order prompting Daly City police to call ICE.  

The city will welcome input from the Asian Law Caucus and other immigrant rights advocacy groups on the updated policy. However, the city does not believe that there are similar cases to Escobar-Lopez's, the Daily Journal reported.

"The city assures the community that this was an isolated incident, and that there is no pattern or practice that shows that the Daly City Police Department directly or indirectly enforces immigration law," Daly City said in the statement.