Public Safety

2 men in ICE custody miss hearing

Lawyers baffled but records show they're in jail

DAVENPORT — Court proceedings involving five of the 32 men arrested May 9 during a raid by Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials in Mount Pleasant hit a snag Tuesday when two of the men — being held in ICE custody — did not appear in U.S. District Court.

Elmer Urizar Lopez, 35, of Guatemala, and Reinaldo Garcia Munoz, 31, of Mexico, were to be arraigned on felony indictment of unlawful re-entry, having been deported from the United States before.

Because they did not appear, U.S. Attorney Ashley Corkery asked Judge Stephen Jackson to issue arrest warrants.

Jackson rejected her requests and postponed the men’s arraignments indefinitely, asking the attorneys for each side to file a status report by July 9 advising where the men are and when they can appear.

Publicly available records found by the Quad City Times show both men are being held at the Hardin County Jail.

In a June 19 order, Jackson ruled that Urizar would be released from custody — and reunited with his 15-year-old son, whose mother remains in Guatemala — after certain conditions were met. It was not clear Tuesday what the status is of having those conditions met and when he might be released.

The May 9 raid that captured the men and 30 others occurred at Midwest Precast Concrete in Mount Pleasant.

Urizar had been deported before, in 2014. He is the sole supporter of his teenage son, according to Tammy Shull, chairwoman of the Iowa Welcomes Immigrant Neighbors group.

Garcia was convicted in 2006 in federal district court in Davenport of fraud and misuse of documents, misuse of a Social Security number and aggravated identify theft and sentenced to two years and one day, according to court records. He was deported in 2009 and again in 2013.

He has a wife and two children, 5 months and 3 years old, in the Mount Pleasant area, Shull said.

Three other men arrested in the raid appeared Tuesday to hear the charges against them. All three pleaded not guilty, and Judge Jackson set trial dates for the week of July 30.

These three are:

l Oscar Romeo Mota Rivera, charged with unlawful re-entry, fraud and misuse of visas/permits, misuse of Social Security numbers and use of identification documents not lawfully issued.

l Elmer Joel Espinal, charged with unlawful entry. A native of Honduras, he was deported in 2007. His history includes a 2004 conviction in Texas for assault causing bodily injury, according to court documents. He has a wife and two children in the Mount Pleasant area, Shull said.

l Ricardo Macias Saucedo charged with unlawful entry. A native of Mexico, he previously was deported in 2008. He has a wife and two children in Mount Pleasant.

During the hearings, the courtroom was packed with about 35 people from the Quad Cities, including clergy, who have attended hearings to show support for immigrants and to indicate to the courts that citizens are watching how the cases are handled.

“It’s hard for me to believe this is the United States, this is Iowa,” said Patricia Jones of Davenport. “It breaks my heart. When this is going on with adults, you wonder how they are caring for the children.”

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