Arcata Woman Granted Release on $12,000 Bond After Being Detained for Seven Months by ICE

Press release from True North:

Claudia Portillo

Claudia Portillo second from the left surrounded by friends and family. [Photo from her GoFundMe page]

Claudia Portillo, an undocumented Arcata resident and mother to four daughters, has been granted release on a $12,000 bond after seven months of immigration detention, and her community is arranging to pay for her release. The North Coast community has advocated for Ms. Portillo’s release both at home in Humboldt and Del Norte counties and in San Francisco with community events, online fundraisers and direct support to her family.At 6:00 AM on Monday, June 18th a convoy from Humboldt and Del Norte Counties embarked on a six-hour-long drive south to San Francisco Immigration Court demanded the return of their undocumented friend and neighbor, Ms. Portillo. After hearing her plea, Judge Patrick S. O’Brien granted her release on bond. He is one of only 334 immigration judges nationwide struggling to overcome an average backlog of 1,849 cases per judge. A 2017 article uncovered that only 15 percent of people in detention are represented by an attorney in San Francisco’s immigration courts. Judge O’Brien stated in the hearing that while he was granting Ms. Portillo release on bond, the Department of Homeland Security has the ability to appeal his ruling to delay her release.Ms. Portillo was unexpectedly detained during a routine check-in appointment in November 2017 and imprisoned her 555 miles away from her four daughters in the privately owned Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility in Bakersfield, CA. Just 33 years old, Ms. Portillo was born in El Salvador, but has lived in the United States from age seven. Her four American daughters, four rescued dogs, mother, two sisters, nieces, and brother await her return to Arcata, CA, where she has lived for the past four years.“My sister has been stuck in detention for seven months. She has missed her daughters’ birthdays and graduations.” Explained Ms. Portillo’s sister Jenny Ventura.“Claudia is a strong, vital part of our community and is enduring something unthinkable for most of us… waiting in detention for more than 7 months! This is wrong! Claudia is not a criminal. She is a lovely human being who deserves better than this.” urged Mckinleyville, CA resident and True North Organizing Network Leader Lisa Enge.

Among the community groups that have advocated for Claudia Portillo’s return are True North Organizing Network, Arcata United Methodist Church, Catalyst Church, Humboldt Move to Amend, Centro Del Pueblo, among others. Los Bagels donated breakfast and snacks to the convoy that traveled from Humboldt County to San Francisco. Congressman Jared Huffman, who represents Ms. Portillo’s congressional district, wrote a letter to Judge O’Brien requesting her release.

Over the past week, a community fundraiser has raised more than $8,000 in online and in cash donations, and both individuals and community groups are arranging to cover the rest of the $12,000 cost of her release. Claudia may be home with her family this week.

Click this link to see video of Claudia’s sister speaking to the media after the news.




  • Wow. Fantastic news for her and her family.

  • A few in the North Coast Community rather. Rather a reach for patting themselves on their own backs.

  • Great, now she can pay back Kim’s family the ten grand she ripped them off for.

    • Don’t know the story on that one but I don’t think it matters. Its about four children who need their mother.

      • (Gasping dramatically and clapping hands under her chin) “It’s for the children.” According to that idea, anyone with children should never be jailed for any crime. Children should not be used as a human shield.

        • I so agree! If their children are so important then why would they do illegal things that might put them in jeopardy? The illegal immigrants love to use their children as a justifiable reason for their actions. Setting a great example that breaking the law is ok.
          Not good enough!

          • She was brought here at 7 and had been checking in with ICE ever since. She was sending the message you should cooperate with authorities.

            ICE is sending a very clear message: don’t cooperate with authorities, because it just makes it easier for us to target you.

    • Unless it was some kind of shady, illegal dealing, the woman who was ripped off can take legal action. Surely it wasn’t something like a drug deal that didn’t work out right?

      I’ll bet your friend loves you airing her dirty laundry here.

  • So, she has been here 26 years and didn’t do her homework? These things will happen when you don’t do the work.

  • Tamera, Sorry but don’t hold your breath on that. That money’s Gone, Gone, Gone!!!

  • Lisa Enge is mistaken. Portillo is a criminal. It doesn’t necessarily make her a bad person but the truth is important.

    Mistaken is probably a poor word choice above. Most likely, Lisa Enge knows her statement is false. Disingenuous might be a better word.

    • I should add that I have no problem with Portillo being released on bond. I highly doubt she is dangerous.

      The private prison industry should be illegal.

  • Great news, but this never should have happened to begin with. Really bad precedent which means that people will be reluctant to show up to what have been routine meetings for years. This precedent will drive them underground.

    • Citizens are sometimes required to wear ankle bracelets. Perhaps that is an option to prevent illegals going “underground”.

      • You gonna put a patch on their arms too?

        • Some might prefer an ankle bracelet over privatized prison. It wouldn’t be mandatory. They would be free to remain in prison or return to their home country without it. Like it or not, illegal immigrants are criminals. It’s not wrong to treat them as such.

          • Yah. Build the wall!

          • I like stars……and everyone that isn’t Native American can go back to their home country too, right?

            • I was born in the USA. I am by definition a native American. Maybe you mean American Indian? If so, I respect them and their sovereign nations.

              Is there any country in the world that treats illegal immigrants better than the US does? I don’t know. Maybe there is but I’d be surprised. In many countries they are confined to refugee camps if they are allowed to stay at all.

              • That’s even more ridiculous though. Imagine how much work it would take to prove all those people that claim American Indian ancestry. I’m guessing it’s a case of Poe’s Law.

    • That’s an unusual theory. That law breaking will go underground if enforcement is attempted therefore never attempt enforcement. That poor idea is how we got 13 million illegals and growing.

      And I suppose the pot industry too. And politicians… Good Lord, there is no end to the uses of this idea.

  • She isn’t part of my community. I don’t run with criminals.

    • Sleepy Alligator

      You might not run with them but if you live in Humboldt co then you are surrounded by them like it or not.

  • She should be deported.

  • Sleepy Alligator

    First privately owned prisons and now privately owned ICE “Processing” Facilities? The powers who allow these to exist are the real criminals. Someday there will be a privately owned facility that will cage me for saying that.

  • thank you jerry brown! Your constituency is not just California, it is the world! We are your workers! We need the twin tunnels project so you can grow us, your Human Resources, to twice the number we are today! Every flat acre, every hilltop, covered with the acid dreams of fuhrer jerry browns inclusive(forced), diverse(volitile) empire!
    Welcome home Claudia to our/your colony on stolen land! Now own your share of the historical blame!

  • Bless your heart stars. You probably don’t know what a dictionary is. It’s like a book that tell you what words mean. OH. And i think by definition you fall under NAÏVE American. Or perhaps entitled.

    last i checked this was Humboldt friggin county. Chances are you have been payed by criminals.

    And this is the great thing about community guys. Its not mine or yours. It’s all of ours.

    • no, we have laws. u don’t have to like it, but an undocumented individual is still an illegal alien no matter how self-righteously you say otherwise

  • She is a criminal because she’s here illegally. Plain and simple. What makes her more special then all the other immigrants trying to come here legally? A law is a law and if some of you don’t like it then work on changing the law and quit making excuses for people who break them.

  • So is the sister Jenny Venture also undocumented?


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