Jose Luis Garcia, 62, was drinking coffee outside his Los Angeles-area home on a Sunday morning in mid-June when he was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, ABC 7 reported. On Friday, Garcia was released from ICE custody and an immigration judge dropped the case, according to CBS.
Garcia’s daughter, Natalie Garcia, told the Los Angeles Daily News that she was woken up at 7 a.m. when she heard her father yelling her name. She told the publication that she initially thought he was having a medical issue — until she went outside and saw eight agents arresting her father.
Natalie Garcia told Fox 11 that the agents told her they were arresting her father on an administrative warrant, for a domestic violence conviction in 2001, and that they said they couldn't show her the warrant. Then they dragged him into a car.
Her father had pleaded no contest and completed his sentence for the misdemeanor conviction, according to the Daily News.
"I was like, 'That case should have been closed, he did everything he had to do and it was a misdemeanor,' " she told Fox 11.
Jose Garcia came to the United States nearly 50 years ago, when he was 13, ABC 7 reported. He was granted legal resident status under the Immigration Reform and Control Act, during the Reagan administration.
"My dad was comfortable," Natalie Garcia told the Daily News, adding that "there was no reason for my dad not to get his citizenship."
Jose Garcia works three jobs: as an Uber driver, a personal trainer and a machine operator, according to Fox 11.
"He’s a taxpayer. He’s a homeowner. He’s worked in the same job for more than 35 years," Natalie Garcia told ABC 7.
She told Fox 11 that she's "shocked this is happening to a legal resident."
"I didn't think it would happen to my family, it's happening to my family," she told the TV station through tears. "Overnight, everything changed. I don't have my dad anymore."
Natalie Garcia told the Daily News that she's visited her father at the Theo Lacy detention facility in Orange County and brought him medication and talked to him, saying that he's "devastated and in shock right now."
In a statement to the Daily News, ICE confirmed Garcia’s arrest, saying that "Mr. Garcia has past criminal convictions that make him amenable to removal from the United States."