People are rallying behind Claudia Rueda, a 22-year-old immigration youth activist, after her organization says she was detained in California by Customs and Border Patrol agents.
Supporters are using the hashtag #freeclaudia on Twitter.
Rueda has been an outspoken immigration activist who led protests against the detainment of her mother, Teresa Vidal-Jaime, who was taken into custody during a drug bust in April. She alleges that her mother was not involved in criminal activity.
The president of Cal State-LA issued a statement expressing “deep concern” about Rueda.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Claudia Is a College Student Who Is a Youth Immigrant Organizer
According to Laist, Rueda is a “Cal State L.A. student and Immigrant Youth Coalition organizer” who has been “prominent in local activism efforts.”
The Los Angeles Times has labeled her an “immigration activist.” According to the Democratic Socialists of America, Rueda “participated in college-prep programs, was a student at UC Santa Cruz, and transferred to Cal State LA where she is currently studying Latin American Studies and has the support of many professors and campus organizations.”
Claudia’s mother’s detention affected her studies negatively, the University Times reported. The newspaper quoted Dr. Alejandra Marchevsky, professor of Liberal Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, as saying, “Our federal immigration policies have made Cal State LA students unsafe and disrupted their education.”
2. Rueda’s Mother Was Detained After a Drug Bust at an Apartment Complex
Rueda’s mother was swept up in a large drug bust, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Teresa Vidal-Jaime was picked up by federal authorities “after a massive drug bust at a Boyle Heights apartment complex where she lives,” the Times reported.
During the raid, “her husband was arrested for drug possession and investigators seized more than 30 pounds of cocaine and $600,000 in cash, according to the U.S. Border Patrol,” the Times reported.
But Vidal-Jaime’s daughter, Claudia Rueda, organized protests for her mother, “calling it an unlawful raid that swept up an innocent woman in a criminal probe,” according to the newspaper.
The University Times reported that Claudia Rueda “was in a Monday evening class when she heard about the raid, and immediately returned home. When Rueda arrived at the scene, she says she was subject to intimidation and both agencies did not present a warrant to her.”
The newspaper reported that ICE responded, “Border Patrol says that Vidal gave them permission to continue conducting their investigation in the apartment. In an investigation that started on the road that afternoon, agents tracked a car, suspecting that the men inside the vehicle were involved in cross-border smuggling. They ended up at the apartment complex where the men started to unload drugs from the vehicle. After immediately arresting the men, Border Patrol, with the consent of Vidal, entered the apartment which lead to the discovery of the currency in a duffel bag. Border Patrol agents then arrested Vidal upon finding out about her immigration status.”
3. The Immigrant Youth Coalition Put Out the Word That Claudia Was Detained
“URGENT CALL TO ACTION: CALL BORDER PATROL TO FREE CLAUDIA, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER IN CALIFORNIA,” the group wrote on Facebook on May 18.
“Claudia was kidnapped on Thursday, May 18th in the morning by Border Patrol in Boyle Heights!” the group wrote. “Call Border Patrol in Chula Vista at 619-498-9750 to demand DHS not initiate removal proceedings and release Claudia to let her apply for DACA and get back to her family and her education.”
The group suggested that people on social media fill out the below form:
“Hi, my name is ________________, and I am a concerned community member calling in support of Claudia Sarahi Rueda Vidal, DOB: 1/15/95, a DACA eligible youth, college student and beloved community member from Boyle Heights. Claudia has been a mentor in the community to other youth and has long fought for justice for others. I demand that Border Patrol release her to her family and community to let her apply for DACA with USCIS.”
According to Laist, the group claims that “agents attempted to enter the family home but were denied access after failing to provide a warrant. Rueda was moving her mother’s car for street cleaning at the time, and was detained somewhere outside the home without anyone being notified.” Loved ones learned Rueda “had been detained and moved to a detention center in Chula Vista,” the site says.
Heavy has reached out to ICE for comment, and this post will be updated if one is received. Rueda doesn’t come up in the online ICE detainee locator.
4. Claudia Was Born in Mexico & Has Filled Her Facebook Page With Anti-ICE Rhetoric
Claudia’s Facebook page says she is from Luis B. Sánchez, Sonora, Mexico.
Her page is filled with activism, anti-ICE comments, and other issues, such as opposing gentrification. An example:
Claudia has lived in Los Angeles almost her entire life, according to a statement by the Democratic Socialists of America.
5. Rueda Is Described as a Mentor Who Couldn’t Afford the DACA Filing Fees
Claudia “has been preparing” to ” apply for DACA but had been unable to gather the money for the filing fees,” according to DSA.
The group said in the statement that Claudia’s best friend states: “Claudia is an extremely supportive, empowering, and hard working friend. All throughout high school, she encouraged students to continue their studies in higher education, becoming involved in afterschool programs like ESCALERA. Throughout our college career, she has continuously supported me, offered her home, and her wisdom to continue being a hardworking student and following our passions.”