A Mexican boxer on vacation in Florida was held in federal detention for over a week after a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy reported him to federal immigration officials.
Abel Aparicio, 29, was a passenger in a car pulled over by the deputy in Marathon on July 16, his attorney told the Miami Herald. The deputy cited a faulty tail light and that the driver had been following a car too closely, the attorney, Alex Solomiany, said.
Aparicio was not cited in the traffic stop but handed the deputy a Mexican ID upon request, Solomiany said.
The deputy called U.S. Border Patrol, who arrested Aparicio and transferred him to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, said Nestor Yglesias, an ICE spokesman.
Aparicio was released from the Krome Detention Center on Friday after posting a $5,000 bond, Solomiany said. Aparicio’s detention was first reported by NBC 6. The news station reported that Aparicio was detained for nine days.
Solomiany successfully argued that his client, who is married to a U.S. citizen and the father to three children who are also citizens, did not pose a flight risk or danger to the community and would appear before an immigration judge in Atlanta, where he lives.
A new immigration bill that went into effect in Florida this month requires police to detain undocumented immigrants in local jails following their arrest if requested by federal immigration authorities.
But the “sanctuary cities” ban, signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis in June, doesn’t say anything about reporting an otherwise law-abiding immigrant to Border Patrol. And Monroe is not among the 15 Florida counties that participate in ICE’s 287(g) program, which permits designated police officers to perform “limited immigration law enforcement functions” such as identifying individuals living in the country illegally.
“That’s why it’s a little out of the ordinary,” Solomiany said.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.
Aparicio crossed the U.S.-Mexico border when he was about 13 years old. He did not have legal immigration status at the time of his detention. His wife will now file an immigrant visa petition and request that an immigration judge cancel Aparicio’s removal order, Solomiany said.
Solomiany said his client did not have a legal duty to present his ID to the deputy.
An online fundraising page set up on Aparicio’s behalf has raised just over $6,100 for legal expenses. The GoFundMe page, set up by his boxing coach and manager, explains that Aparicio’s boxing team had planned to visit the Florida Keys for several months, and timed the trip for after a big fight he won against an undefeated opponent.
The group of 17 boxers, family members and staff spent time on the beach playing volleyball and out kayaking in the sea. After two days of summer fun, they headed back to their rental house. Then came the sirens.
The fundraising page alleges racial profiling played a factor in the traffic stop.
“What they saw was a car full of brown Latin boys with the windows down talking and laughing with some music playing...” writes Terri Moss. “They checked everyone’s ID. Abel didn’t have a drivers license, but was in the back seat.”