Arcata mother detained for 7 months by ICE after routine check-in released on bond


Claudia Portillo, an undocumented Arcata resident and mother to four daughters, has been granted release on a $12,000 bond after seven months of immigration detention, and her community is arranging to pay for her release. The North Coast community has advocated for Ms. Portillo’s release both at home in Humboldt and Del Norte counties and in San Francisco with community events, online fundraisers and direct support to her family.

At 6:00 AM on Monday, June 18th a convoy from Humboldt and Del Norte Counties embarked on a six-hour-long drive south to San Francisco Immigration Court demanded the return of their undocumented friend and neighbor, Ms. Portillo. After hearing her plea, Judge Patrick S. O’Briengranted her release on bond.

In a press release from True North, an organization working with Claudia's sister Jenny Ventura, it said that Ms. Portillo was unexpectedly detained during a routine check-in appointment in November 2017 and imprisoned her 555 miles away from her four daughters in the privately owned Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility in Bakersfield, CA. Just 33 years old, Ms. Portillo was born in El Salvador, but has lived in the United States from age seven. Her four American daughters, four rescued dogs, mother, two sisters, nieces, and brother await her return to Arcata, CA, where she has lived for the past four years

"We are from Arcata and she is being held in Bakersfield we have someone down there, waiting for her," said Portillo. "This is just one case out of so many in the United States, so yes, it's a victory for us but, there is more work to be done. There was nobody there for her, and so I'm still going to keep fighting."

“Claudia is a strong, vital part of our community and is enduring something unthinkable for most of us waiting in detention for more than 7 months! This is wrong! Claudia is not a criminal. She is a lovely human being who deserves better than this.” urged Mckinleyville, CA resident and True North Organizing Network Leader Lisa Enge.

Among the community groups that have advocated for Claudia Portillo’s return are True North Organizing Network, Arcata United Methodist Church, Catalyst Church, Humboldt Move to Amend, Centro Del Pueblo, among others. Los Bagels donated breakfast and snacks to the convoy that traveled from Humboldt County to San Francisco. Congressman Jared Huffman, who represents Ms. Portillo’s congressional district, wrote a letter to Judge O’Brien requesting her release.

Over the past week, a community fundraiser has raised more than $8,000 in online and in cash donations, and both individuals and community groups are arranging to cover the rest of the $12,000 cost of her release. Claudia may be home with her family this week.


Rallies throughout the nation were held Thursday, demanding congress to put a stop to families being separated at the border. Many demonstrations were held to tackle the White House's zero-tolerance police when it comes to people crossing the border illegally. Immigrant families already in the U.S. are starting to feel the effects of the policy as well, even some in Humboldt.

Claudia Portillo was detained in September of last year after her papers were not adequate enough, she was held in Bakersfield and unable to go back to her family back in Humboldt.

A caravan of supporters as well as members of Portillos family are heading to court in San Francisco to show the judge that they are ready for her to be released.

"She has a hearing date this Monday at one," said Jenny Ventura, sister of Portillo. " We want to be there with many other people and show the judge we're waiting for her, we've been waiting for her for seven months."

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