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Village rallies against local man’s ICE detention

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Yellow Springs residents and leaders are rallying in support of Yellow Springs business owner and father of three, Miguel Espinosa, who is being held under Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, detention following a traffic stop in Yellow Springs early last week.

“He needs to be home,” Espinosa’s wife of 15 years, Yellow Springs native Dawn Boyer, said Thursday, Aug. 29, when a cross-section of more than 60 villagers gathered at Rockford Chapel on the Antioch College campus to discuss her husband’s situation. The family of five have been locally based for three years, after spending time in New York City and Tampa, Fla., according to Boyer, who said their repeated attempts to secure legal status for Espinosa had been unsuccessful.

“I thought he would be safe here,” she said.

Espinosa, 41, the owner and proprietor of Miguel’s Tacos in downtown Yellow Springs, was initially stopped shortly before midnight Monday, Aug. 26, on suspicion of not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, according to local authorities. He was issued citations on that alleged offense as well as two alleged driver’s license violations.

Past traffic violation convictions on Espinosa’s record, several based on his not having a driver’s license, prompted the Yellow Springs officer to take Espinosa into custody and transport him to the Greene County Jail in Xenia, according to YS Police Chief Brian Carlson, who said the action was standard procedure in cases of such prior offenses.

Local police did not anticipate that Espinosa’s immigration status would come to ICE’s attention, Carlson and Village Manager Josue Salmeron have said separately. Both officials were under the impression that county jail personnel contacted ICE concerning Espinosa, but Greene County Jail Administrator Major Kirk Keller contradicted that account.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Sept. 4, Keller said jail records indicate ICE authorities became aware of Espinosa’s arrest through the booking process, when a subject’s fingerprints are entered into a national database.

ICE agents came to Xenia, took Espinosa into federal custody and transported him to the Butler County ICE-affiliated facility. In the meantime, local officials learned of ICE’s involvement and tried to rescind the Aug. 29-related citations, according to Carlson and Salmeron, but it was too late.

Espinosa has been held in Butler County Jail since. His family is hoping for a bond hearing, which reportedly can take up to two weeks to secure, and a reasonable bond amount that will allow him to come home until his case goes to court.

Boyer said the family has hired an immigration lawyer in Dayton. Villagers, including Chief Carlson, have written letters in support of Espinosa’s bond release. And Village leaders are re-examining relevant local police policies, according to Carlson and Salmeron.

A longer story on the evolving situation is planned for the Sept. 5 Yellow Springs News.

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