Woman describes boyfriend’s arrest by ICE agents in Kansas City
Cheyenne Hoyt told a group of people gathered at a news conference Tuesday that the U.S. government is tearing her family apart.
Hoyt spoke in Kansas City at a gathering organized by local immigration activists from the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, or MORE2, and Advocates for Immigrant Rights & Reconciliation at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut Street.
Hoyt witnessed, and recorded on video, the arrest Monday of her boyfriend Florencio Millan, 32. They were in his car with their two children in the 4000 block of Harvard Lane when an ICE agent approached them. In the course of arresting Millan, an ICE agent shattered one of the car’s windows.
“I just thought ‘What did you put us through, what did you put my kids through?’” Hoyt said. “At that point you didn’t care what my kids thought. You heard my son cry ‘Don’t take my daddy.’”
On Tuesday Millan was being held in a detention center in Morgan County, Missouri. Since his arrest, activists have sharply criticized the involvement of local police and the denial by federal agents of the couple’s request to see an arrest warrant.
Millan’s arrest came after President Donald Trump touted widespread crackdowns on undocumented people. Announcements of raids have spread fear in immigrant communities in cities around the country.
Hoyt said the ICE agents never told them the name of the person they were looking for or showed them a warrant.
“All we asked for was a warrant and he would have left, but since you refused to give us that warrant, that’s our right to stay in the car,” she said. “That’s our property.”
The ICE agents were accompanied by officers of the Kansas City Police Department. The department has said they were providing backup to the federal agents as they would any law enforcement organization.
AIRR president Naomi Tolentino said the arrest has sparked outrage and confusion.
“Outrage at the violent way in which the arrest occurred and confusion about the involvement of the Kansas City Police Department in the ICE operation,” she said.
“There are always other options than violence when dealing with a nonviolent people in a nonviolent situation.”
Members of the activist groups called on the police department to stop cooperating with ICE and undergo training on immigration law.
ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer said Tuesday Millan “was an immigration fugitive” with prior misdemeanors. Neudauer did not provide details of the alleged misdemeanor cases.
In 2011, Millan complied with a voluntary departure order. Five days after returning to Mexico, immigration officials encountered him after he illegally re-entered the U.S. under an assumed name, Neudauer said.
Millan was issued an expedited removal order and deported.
Hoyt said that her boyfriend is a hardworking chef.
“He’s a family, working man,” she said.
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, said the video showing the arrest “is nothing short of heartbreaking and gut-wrenching,” and laid the blame on President Donald Trump.
“This President has spent the entirety of his term demonizing immigrants and fearmongering his base into relinquishing the very values that have made our nation what it is today, and this incident is a direct result of that rhetoric,” Cleaver said.
Cleaver called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and said he would continue to monitor the situation with Millan.
Tolentino said they mourn for Millan and his family.
“We’re mad that this is happening in our community,” she said. “Another family separated.”