PSA: The Police Are Bullies
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — A Lake County woman who was trying to help deputies found herself behind bars for being an illegal immigrant. Rita Cote hasn’t spent more than a day away from her three children, but now she’s sitting in a Miami jail.
The 23-year-old illegal immigrant is being held by border patrol agents. She is scheduled to be deported to Honduras.
“This family, obviously we are torn apart. They didn’t arrest a criminal, but a mother of three children and the love of my life, my wife,” Bobby Cote said. Bobby and the ACLU protested Wednesday in front of Orlando’s federal courthouse. They’re mad at the system.
Rita ended up in jail when Tavares police responded to a call at her house. Her sister had called because of problems with her boyfriend. Rita was translating, but at some point police realized she wasn’t in the country legally so they arrested her.
According to Tavares police, as standard operating procedure, when officers arrive to a scene they check everyone’s ID [4th amendment and all]. They checked her ID and there was a warrant for her arrest. The warrant was issued years ago when her family was stopped by border patrol. Rita has been in the United States since she was 15. Her parents brought her here. Her husband knew she was here illegally, but couldn’t afford to file the necessary paperwork.
“We did seek the proper channels, butraising three kids and to come up with $2,000, it’s an expensive process,” Bobby said.
So Rita is now set to leave the country, but the ACLU has asked the courts to let Rita stay until she gets the proper paperwork filed.
Rita Cote was legally married and her husband is a U.S. citizen. But, despite what many people think, that’s not an automatic path to citizenship. Lawyers told Eyewitness News the process could take years and the legal bills can be so expensive many immigrants don’t even try.
I wonder what happened to the abusive boyfriend.