ICE: Man killed in crash was not person agents were targeting

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detain a suspect in Los Angeles Calif

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detain a suspect in Los Angeles Calif

Santo Hilario Garcia, 35, and Marcelina Garcia Profecto, 33, were leaving a home in Delano - a rural town in California's Central Valley - in their SUV on Tuesday when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrived looking for a Mexican citizen who had been deported, according to the city's police and ICE. Garcia and Profecto were declared dead at the scene.

Authorities said Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stopped a sports utility vehicle they thought contained a suspected illegal immigrant on Tuesday morning near Delano but it sped away, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The driver of the SUV, who apparently lost control of the auto as he was speeding, veered onto a dirt shoulder and rammed into a power pole, according to the Delano Police Department. Garcia, who matched their target's description, exited the house, got into his vehicle, and fled the area "at a high rate of speed", Haley said.

ICE spokeswoman Lori K. Haley said the agents first went to the Garcias' home looking for another man wanted for deportation and followed the couple as they drove away.

Police said the SUV hit a power pole before coming to a stop. United Farm Workers told KBAK the two were a couple and left behind six children.

The UFW and several other churches and organizations are working to provide support for the children, but their future remains uncertain. When ICE agents caught up with the vehicle, they saw that it had flipped onto its roof, and they immediately called 911, ICE spokesperson Jennifer Elzea told Newsweek.

The GoFundMe campaign said that the couple had just dropped off their daughter at school and were on their way to look for work when the deportation officers attempted to stop them.

ICE said Garcia was a Mexican citizen who was voluntarily returned to the country three times between 2008 and 2017, then removed from the United States again previous year.

The tactic, she added, has resulted in "numerous unlawful arrests". Rodriguez says the couple had not broken any laws in the last 15 years. His criminal history included a 2014 driving under the influence conviction.

Jennie Pasquarella, director of immigrants' rights at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, said her office in recent weeks has received multiple reports from California's farm-rich Central Valley about immigration agents staking out the roads that farmworkers travel to get to work and pulling them over early in the morning.

"Who knows if this accident could've been prevented if these ice agents weren't so aggressive with this family", Rodriguez said.

"This incident demonstrates just how unsafe ICE's unlawful practices are to our communities", she continued.

Pasquarella blamed the "horrible tragedy" on ICE's "inhumane tactics and the fear it provokes in hardworking people who stand to lose everything if they are deported".

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