Bakersfield College students didn't hesitate to speak up when word spread that federal immigration agents had detained a fellow student. Less than 24 hours after ICE detained Jose Bello, students, faculty members and Bakersfield residents mobilized to voice their thoughts to the public. 

Bello, a 21-year-old business administration student is currently being detained at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility.  

However, ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said in a statement that Bello and his brother, Oscar Bello-Reyes, were both detained and confirmed to be members of a local street gang. 

Student government president James Tompkins said Bello was a high achieving academic student studying pre law so he could give back to his family and community. A former professor, Rosa Garza, said "he was a nice student, always ready to learn and had a good attitude." 

Both brothers have criminal convictions for violent offenses harming others, Rocha said. The brothers were granted voluntary departure to Mexico, after ICE contacted them in a previous incident. But after returning to Mexico, they re-entered the U.S. illegally, Rocha said. 

Their immigration proceedings are ongoing, the release said.

None of Bello's friends or family were in attendance in the crowd of nearly 50. BC professor Olivia Garcia said Bello's mother was afraid to come or speak about the detainment of her son. 

Win Eaton, a Bakersfield immigration attorney, said his firm may represent Bello in his case. Eaton said Bello had no adult criminal record.

It's unclear who will represent Oscar.

According to BC spokeswoman Monika Scott there are hundreds of undocumented immigrants at the college. 

"Bakersfield College is committed to providing a safe environment so all students, including the approximately 800 undocumented students at BC, can attain the degrees, certificates, and workplace skills necessary to engage and contribute positively to their communities," Scott said in a statement Wednesday morning.

Those rallying at BC didn't need to know Bello personally to hold up signs in protest, and not knowing the reason of his detainment still struck a chord among fellow students because Bello, rumored to be a 4.0-grade-point student, fit the description of a DACA recipient.

Speakers had previously thought that Bello had been detained because an unmarked vehicle pulled him over for speeding. 

The former BC Latinos Unidos Por Educacion (LUPE) president Tanya Bernal spoke about the fear of ICE while trying to obtain a degree.

"Dreamers you are not alone here," Bernal said. "As a college student we should be worried about achieving a 4.0."

Bello's arrest is the latest incident involving ICE agents and Kern County that's ruffled feathers in some quarters and strengthened support in others regarding the government's targeting of undocumented residents.

On March 13, Santos Hilario Garcia and Marcelina Profecto Garcia died in a crash after being stopped by ICE agents in Delano. They fled the area after being pulled over, then crashed on West Cecil Avenue.

No charges were brought against the ICE agents in that case after the District Attorney's office determined the traffic stop had nothing to do with the fatal crash. Instead, the office determined, the crash was caused by reckless driving and a sharp turn that led the Garcia vehicle to overturn.

(11) comments

Stephen

Or, thinking about the contradictions between claims by school staff about his status as a student and by ICE, as a violent gang member maybe we should be doing some more examination before getting all hot and bothered about this violation of the sanctity of our laws.

In the age of Trump with his well documented willingness to promote false fantasies to support the narrative and appeal to his low information base I don't trust ICE to be telling us the truth.

In this case there was a report on the KBAK late news last night (5/25/18) that ICE had confused him with someone else with a similar name. So the self righteous among us can chill. If this young man can finish his education the sky won't fall after all.

Ed

Who is paying for the other 799 students to go to College?? And the others. Don’t want to sound racist. We the tax payers are paying for over 79% of the students going to BC. And I didn’t vote for the 500 m bond. ICE. Is doing their job they need the money more than most of theses students

Nevermind

Your paying their tuition and for books? That's very nice of you.

Barking Spider

The 20 people shown in the photos doesn't look like much of a "mobilization." This individual sounds like a poster boy alright...a poster boy for valid criminal charges and deportation.

Barking Spider

One down, 799 to go.

Aurore518

He has illegally entered the country twice and has been convicted of a violent crime related to gang activity and we should be sympathetic to his ICE detainment? Nope. As a believer in the rule of law, this individual has broken the law 3 times. He should now have to face the consequence of breaking those laws and be deported. The fact that he is attending BC and getting good grades does not erase the fact he has broken the law. Why do these activists want to protect a convicted criminal? What if he had violently hurt your family member or someone you love? Would you still feel that he has any right to stay in this country ILLEGALLY?

CTurk3

Deport them, why is Bakersfield College getting involved in an immigration issue? Bakersfield College has enough of it's own problems without entering into this arena.

Churchillis1

"Both brothers have criminal convictions for violent offenses harming others."
THIS is who you immigration reform advocates want to keep in our neighborhoods? Really?Violent gang members who have ALREADY been convicted of violent crime.

If there is ANY illegal alien that we should kick out of the country, this kid is the perfect poster boy.

GaryJohns

When you RE-ENTER the country illegally, you should not be surprised when ICE comes calling... Now he can go to one of those fine Mexican colleges...

Holding the bag

Maybe Bakersfield college should open up a satellite campus in Mexico, since we unwittingly voted for their $ 500 million dollar bond. I guess the elite at Bakersfield college are above any law that would require following the federal laws of America.Surprised the president of the college didn’t take her selfie to be part of the cause! 🤔🤐

RM

"Live by the sword die by the sword" too little to late send em all back 4.0 or not

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