NewsLocal News


Undocumented immigrant Jose Bello bailed out of ICE custody by NFL players, other organizations

Bello released after second ICE detainment
Posted at 6:13 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 21:13:05-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — "I could see my whole future going out the window," Jose Bello said.

The 22-year-old undocumented immigrant who attended Bakersfield College told 23 ABC News the last three months of his life, spent in an Immigrant and Customs Enforcement detention center, was miserable.

On Monday, however, Bello caught a break, according to his attorneys with the ACLU of Southern California.

They said his $50,000 bond was paid in part by NFL players Josh Norman and Demario Davis; the New York Immigrant Freedom Fund; and the National Bail Fund Network.

Lee Wang, an employee at New York Immigrant Freedom Fund, said when Norman and Davis heard about Bello's case, they wanted to help.

"They were just so outraged by what happened, to have a father and activist targeted for daring to speak his mind and challenging what are just outright xenophobic immigration policies," Wang said.

Bello was arrested in May and placed into the Mesa Verde ICE Detention Center. He was detained after reciting a poem called "Dear America" during the Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Stephanie Padilla, an ACLU staff attorney representing Bello, said ICE targeted Bello in a spirit of retaliation, because his speech challenged ICE's immigration policies.

"He reads this poem which is very critical of ICE and within 36 hours, he's arrested and detained," Padilla said.

A briefing for his appeal will be submitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Fall, according to Padilla.