Two Honduran nationals arrested during a raid in Arlandria-Chirilagua last month remain in federal custody for entering the country illegally but their attorney says their arrest was a result of ethnic profiling.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Herlin Flores and Erik Carbajal-Flores as part of Operation Community Shield, a national initiative that partners ICE officials with local law enforcement to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational criminal street gangs, ICE spokeswoman Corri Bassett said.
But Brian Murray, the attorney for both men, says they were swept up by ICE because they were at the same restaurant as known gangsters, not because they were gang members themselves.
If youre a young Hispanic male, youre going to be stopped, and if you happen to be near somebody who [ICE] thinks may be a gang member, you really dont have much of a shot, Murray said. What are the limits on their authority?
Bassett did not comment on whether the men were targeted by name.
Carbajal-Flores is also known as Chicken Little, which could indicate gang membership, according to Homeland Security documents. Murray called it a nickname, not an alias. Neither man had criminal records prior to the arrest.