A Bakersfield College student whose incarceration in the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility garnered significant attention last year has been taken into custody again by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to his family and friends.
On Friday, friends and supporters of Jose Bello, who is a semester away from graduating, gathered on the sidewalk in front of Mesa Verde to protest the student’s detention.
BC Professor Octavio Barajas said ICE agents took Bello into detention Wednesday in front of Bello's residence.
An ICE official reached Friday evening could not confirm whether Bello was in custody.
Bello was last released from Mesa Verde in August 2018 after spending three months in the detention center.
ICE has said he and his brother, Oscar Bello-Reyes, have been linked to local street gangs and have previous criminal convictions for violent offenses.
Bello has denied being part of a gang, and his former lawyer has suggested ICE confused Bello with somebody else.
“He’s got the biggest heart that I’ve ever known,” said friend Emmanuel Limaco. “He doesn’t deserve to get taken away from his family and his friends.”
Since his release, Bello had been going through court proceedings from outside of detention.
“No one saw it coming,” Barajas said of the Bello’s second arrest.
About 30 people gathered Friday to raise awareness and support Bello.
“We’re here for him,” Barajas said. “We love him and we’re going to fight for his freedom and the freedom of all other detainees.”