ICE targets brothers

The siblings are the only people the local ICE office has booked into Sacramento jail in at least six months

Four months after their controversial arrest of an undocumented immigrant inside a Sacramento County courthouse, unrepentant federal immigration authorities took the older brother, too.

On December 14, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, arrested Jorge Ontiveros, 41, of Sacramento for being in the country illegally. The ICE agents were working out of the same Capitol Mall field office that came under statewide scrutiny over the summer, when Ontiveros’ younger brother Yovanny was apprehended inside Sacramento Superior Court.

California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, who recently told CALmatters that she left the Republican Party over its direction, last year condemned the practice of ICE agents entering courthouses as “stalking.”

Yovanny’s attorney Charles Anthony Pacheco said in a previous interview that two plainclothes ICE agents “dressed like bums” approached the bar following his client’s August 22 arraignment and announced they had a warrant to arrest him for illegally reentering the United States. Pacheco said the younger Ontiveros is no longer in ICE custody and the criminal charge he was facing was dismissed in November, online court records show.

Aside from Yovanny, Jorge Ontiveros is the only other person local ICE agents have booked into Sacramento jail for deportation in at least six months, an SN&R review of booking logs found.

Pacheco said Ontiveros was Christmas shopping when he ran into his ex-wife. According to Ontiveros’ sister, the ex followed him home and reported his address to ICE. Booking records and satellite imagery show Ontiveros living at a one-story clapboard home buffeted by pine groves in Meadowview.

“Apparently she still carried a torch for him,” Pacheco said.

Like his younger brother, Ontiveros was booked into jail under the last name “Ontiveros-Cebreros” for being in the country illegally following a previous deportation. He has been in custody on a no-bail federal hold ever since.

While Ontiveros’ criminal record isn’t spotless, he already paid his debt to society. According to online court records, Ontiveros pleaded no contest in July 2007 to one felony count of possession of a controlled substance for sale and received a four-year prison sentence. A felony count of transporting a controlled substance was dismissed. Ontiveros has no other charges or convictions in Sacramento County, and he wasn’t on parole or probation when ICE arrested him.

According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, 58 percent of the 44,435 individuals in ICE custody as of June 30, 2018, had no criminal record. TRAC also found that an even larger proportion—four out of five—either had no record, or had only committed a minor offense such as a traffic violation.

Pacheco said he didn’t know if his client’s brother had retained legal counsel.