Harrowing Seattle Immigration Story (Part I)

June 14, 2016 3:20 pm
by David Jakeman

Seattle immigration attorneys are used to hearing tough immigration stories. Every once in a while, there is a story that hits especially close to home, both literally and figuratively. Such is the case with a recent Seattle-area story of a 14-year-old girl who was held for several months and forced to work in factory kitchens in Kent and Federal Way. It’s a tough story, and it’s a reminder of the difficulties of those living nearby.

Young Immigrant Girl’s Alleged Oppressors

Although the Civil War may have ended legal slavery in the United States years ago, there still exist numerous examples of coerced, unfree, and slave-like labor throughout the United States. And in the shadowy world of undocumented immigrants, who lack the same access to protection and who often fear contacting law enforcement agents, we find especially difficult circumstances. In this case, a 14-year-old girl was allegedly used as a source of income for four Kent residents after bringing her to Washington from Mexico.

Prosecutors argue that Angel Sandoval Mondragon brought the young girl, who is not being named because she is a minor, to the United States soon after he was deported in 2005. Prosecutors argue that he exploited the girl with the aid of his former wife, his sister, and his brother-in-law Miguel Arcef-Flores. The young girl’s legal team and advocates are hoping that she and other alleged victims can secure immigration protection available for those who have been human trafficking victims, which would allow them to stay in the country legally.

The Investigation Begins

The girl’s plight came to light when federal officials were alerted by a local detective investigation of molestation claims against Arcef-Flores. The investigator reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Seattle immigration attorneys know that immigration issues and human trafficking claims are often handled by federal officials.

The detective passed the information along when the victim told him that she had come to the United States with the hope of being able to go to school and learn English. Such visions were reportedly quickly dashed upon arrival, and she was put to work. Her mother had not been supportive of her decision to leave, and she had warned her daughter that Sandoval was not somebody to be trusted, but the girl went ahead and went anyway, believing that the chance to go to the United States and learn English offered the best possibilities for her future.

The girl’s mother gave her money to pay for her travel costs as well as some money to help support her while in the United States. Sandoval is being accused of stealing the money when they got to the United States. Once the girl got to the United States, things began to take a turn for the worst, which we will explore in part II of this story.1

1 – http://komonews.com/news/local/police-mexican-girl-promised-education-in-us-was-enslaved-instead-12-23-2015

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