HOUSTON — A Galveston family is fighting to get back their father who is being held by ICE officials after a minor traffic violation.
The family of Gerardo Martinez says he was on his way to a physical therapy appointment when police stopped him for a broken headlight.
After showing police a recently expired license Martinez was arrested in Dickinson. From there, he was transported to the Galveston County Jail.
"The law enforcement was acting discriminatory. He should have been given a ticket and just gone home. For some reason, that we can only imagine is because he's Hispanic, he was detained," Raed Gonzalez, the family's attorney, said.
ICE requested that the Galveston Police Department keep Martinez in custody while he waited to be released.
"We paid a $1,500 bond and were told that he would be released since he did not have a criminal record. Thirty minutes later they told us that they were going to give us a refund because ICE had called to ask about him," Martinez's daughter, Monica Treviño, said.
The family's attorney believes that authorities had no right to detain the father of four but the Galveston County Sheriff's Office said that they were just following the rules.
"If another agency sends us documents asking us to put a hold on him, then we hold him. It is not out of character to be questioned. At this point, where does the fact that he's in our country illegally come into play," Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said.
As the only provider in his household, Martinez's absence has put a major strain on his wife Monica Martinez and their four daughters.
"The Trump administration is not deporting criminals in their sweeps, they're deporting good people. Martinez has no criminal conviction, he is a taxpayer, a family man, father of U.S. citizens and has been living in the U.S. for over 21 years, " Gonzalez said.
The family is praying for a miracle and has set up a Go Fund Me page to pay for an attorney and court fees.
"He doesn't deserve this, just please help," Monica Treviño said.