Florencio Millan-Vazquez and his partner were taking their 6-month-old child to the doctor on Monday when federal agents smashed their car window, dragged him from the vehicle and took him for deportation while the couple’s 11-year-old child screamed “I don’t want them to take Daddy.”
Millan-Vazquez’s partner, Cheyenne Hoyt, live-streamed the arrest, offering an up-close look at the cruelty of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and the bipartisan U.S. deportation policy that directs it.
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 24, 2019
Millan-Vazquez, who was deported in 2011 for traffic violations but later returned to the United States, was allowed to say goodbye to Hoyt, but when he asked to say goodbye to his child, the officer said no. “Right now we’re being extremely nice to you,” the officer said, “but what you just put us through, what we had to go through, you’re lucky I’m letting you talk to her right now.”
Hoyt told KCTV5 News that Millan-Vazquez did not comply with ICE because “he was scared because the kids were in the car … My kid’s safety didn’t matter, nothing mattered to them.”
ICE confirmed to KCTV5 that Millan-Vazquez, 32, had been arrested after a vehicle stop, describing him as “an immigration fugitive” with “a prior criminal history that includes misdemeanor offenses,” while noting that he “remains in ICE custody pending removal to Mexico.” The Kansas City Police Department told KCTV5 that they assisted ICE in arrested to “ensure safety and the safety of those around the incident.”
Manuela Stephina Villegas, who started a fundraiser that was shared by Hoyt, wrote on Facebook Wednesday night that Millan-Vazquez is now in Mexico, and that ICE “did not inform any family member, nor his lawyer before his removal.” ICE confirmed to Rolling Stone that Millan-Vazquez was deported to Mexico Wednesday night through the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry.
Kansas City was not one of the cities targeted in Operation Border Resolve, a series of raids President Trump spent the better part of a month boasting about to his supporters. That effort yielded 35 arrests, but ICE has taken more than 900 people into custody since the beginning of May, according to Director Matthew Albence. Most of those were apprehended through a two-month effort called Operation Cross Check.
After video of Millan-Vazquez’s arrest surfaced earlier this week, Reps. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) tweeted that they planned to investigate the issue. Both of their districts include parts of Kansas City. “This video is very concerning as to the traumatization of children and the reasonable use of force,” Cleaver wrote the night of the incident. “I have already reached out to all parties to better understand what is going on.” Davids responded the following afternoon. “Our office has been made aware of this incident, and I share Representative Cleaver’s deep concern over what was shown in this video,” she wrote. “I’m in touch with his office and local authorities to assess the situation.”
Our office has been made aware of this incident, and I share Representative Cleaver's deep concern over what was shown in this video. I'm in touch with his office and local authorities to assess the situation. https://t.co/7NT032PwNM
— Rep. Sharice Davids (@RepDavids) July 23, 2019
“We have reached out to local and federal authorities, and are continuing to engage with the community and local organizations,” Rep. Cleaver said in a statement provided to Rolling Stone. “Our priority right now is the safety and protection of the people within the Kansas City community and informing every individual of their constitutional rights, as well as the limits of ICE’s lawful authority. I am extremely concerned with the tactics and processes ICE is using to detain individuals in Kansas City and communities across the country. I will be calling for the Director of ICE to come before the House Homeland Security Committee in order to get some concrete answers on the methods of ICE and its enforcement policies. American children are being traumatized, American citizens are being illegally detained, and this cannot continue.
Not all of the details are known here, but the general shape is clear: Florencio Millan-Vazquez started his day with his family, taking his daughter to the doctor the way millions of parents do. The day ended with his family separated and his children forever in possession of the memory of their father being dragged away from them, all at the hands of a state that presented zero evidence he poses a danger to anyone.
This is what ICE arrests look like. They started long before Trump, and they happen all the time.
This post has been updated.