Protesters Challenge Immigrant's Recent Arrest

Undocumented Campus Worker in Custody Faces Charges of Impersonation, Falsified Information

Photo: BAMN protesters met on Upper Sproul Plaza on Thursday to support dining commons worker Jesus Gutierrez. Those there said Gutierrez should not be treated as a criminal.
Emma Lantos/Staff
BAMN protesters met on Upper Sproul Plaza on Thursday to support dining commons worker Jesus Gutierrez. Those there said Gutierrez should not be treated as a criminal.

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An immigrant rights group held a rally on Upper Sproul Plaza yesterday in support of an undocumented Clark Kerr dining commons worker who was arrested on the job last week.

UCPD officers arrested Jesus Gutierrez after receiving a report from a southern California police department indicating Gutierrez had allegedly used a stolen social security number, said UCPD Lt. Doug Wing.

The group, BAMN, claimed Gutierrez, who has worked at UC Berkeley for two and a half years, had been arrested in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on April 29. However, ICE officials said they did not take part in the raid.

"We had no involvement in this arrest," ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice said.

A press release and flyers distributed by BAMN incorrectly stated Gutierrez was arrested by an ICE agent and is "under ICE custody"-claims reiterated at the noon rally attended by approximately 50 people and on a Facebook group with nearly 1,400 members.

"The scary thing is this wasn't a rumor," Kice said. "This was a news release distributed to media outlets throughout the Bay Area that contained a number of falsehoods."

Maricruz Manzanarez, a fellow member of Gutierrez's union, AFSCME Local 3299, said Gutierrez's only crime was trying to work in this country.

"Why don't (the police) go out to the streets to find real criminals ... the ones robbing banks and raping women," she said at BAMN's rally.

BAMN Northern California Coordinator Yvette Felarca said she feels the criminal investigation conducted by UCPD is just a roundabout way to aid ICE, adding that the charges center around Gutierrez's immigration.

"That really is even worse," she said, when informed that UCPD had conducted the investigation, arrest and detention. "UCPD is acting like the ICE in the end and that really is more disturbing."

After Gutierrez was taken into custody, UCPD informed ICE that he was an undocumented worker and ICE has placed an immigration hold on him, said his attorney Adam Arant.

Gutierrez has been charged in Alameda County Superior Court with false impersonation and signing an official document with falsified information, but Arant said he is not sure whether or not ICE will pursue charges related to his client's immigration status.

Cecilia Sanchez, Gutierrez's cousin and a UC Berkeley employee for 15 years, said she and her family were surprised he had been arrested at work, something she had never seen happen before.

"It is extremely rare that the campus has interactions with immigration officers," said campus spokesperson Marie Felde.

Sanchez said Gutierrez's family could not speak to him and was unaware of what he had been charged with or who had arrested him for several days

"For me it was like he had been kidnapped," Sanchez said. "It's not a good system."


Contact Leah Greenbaum at [email protected]

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