A youth football coach who was arrested by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents is facing deportation to Mexico where he has no remaining family or known aquaintances, according to family members.
Raymond Torres, 30, of Sylmar, was approached and detained by ICE officials after dropping off his son at Fenton Elementary School in Pacoima, said his sister Abigail Arellano.
“(ICE) told me they had been tracking him for four days, that they waited outside his home then followed them to the school,” Arellano said. After determining he had no legal status, they arrested him.
Torres was first taken to a detention center in Camarillo, then transferred to a downtown Los Angeles detention center before being transferred again to the Theo Lacey facility in the City of Orange, in Orange County. Arellano said he does not yet have a hearing date, but Torres could be deported in a couple of weeks.
Torres, a graduate of Monroe High School, is married with two children and works as a manager for a solar panel company in Chatsworth. He also serves as a volunteer youth football coach of the South Valley Raiders at El Cariso Park in Sylmar. “He buys the equipment, and does fundraisers,” Arellano said
His wife, Araceli, is a stay-at-home mom.
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, dir-ector of communications for CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights), said it was not uncommon for investigators to track persons several days then pop out and confront them.
“What’s so sad is that they choose moments when the arrest can be most public and humiliating,” Cabrera said.
Cabrera noted that ICE activity has again picked up. A scheduled visit by agents at a 7-11 store in Los Angeles, located within the immigrant community of Koreatown, was canceled by ICE earlier this week after more than 50 community advocates representing immigrant, civil, and human rights organizations, immigration attorneys, labor, and faith leaders — who were monitoring the store parking lot since early that morning — were prepared to rally and denounce any ICE actions in places of business where immigrants congregate.
“We’ve been saying that the type of persecution taking place — especially with families who do not represent any harm or threat to their communities — hurts those family, creates chaos in those communities and does not represent our nation’s values,” Cabrera said.
“There’s nothing great about expanding a reign of terror in the land of the free.”
Arellano said Torres mother, who owns the restuarant Mariscos Ensenada near Pacoima is having a fundraiser this Sunday, Jan. 21, from noon to 8 p.m. Proceeds will go to help with legal costs. The restaurant is located at 13110 Van Nuys Blvd.
In addition, the family as created a GoFundMe website page.
“My brother gives to the community, goes to different churches and tries to keep kids busy and healthy. He goes to different middle schools and recruits for football and after school programs, so they stay away from negativity and bad influences,” Arellano said.
Those interested in helping Torres and his family can visit: https://www.gofundme.com/help-coach-raysouthvalleyraiders.