Activist detained last year marked for deportation

May 16, 2019 /

Jose Bello, a Bakersfield College student whose detainment last year made national headlines, was detained again Wednesday and taken to Mesa Verde Detention Facility, according to a Bakersfield College professor.

Bello was detained outside his home when he was alone, according to BC professor Octavio Barajas. Bello’s mother didn’t know his whereabouts and asked friends to help find her son, Barajas said.

“His mother would have still been concerned if they didn’t start actively searching for him,” said Barajas.

It’s unclear why Bello was detained or what the circumstances were for his detention.

However, a man named Jose Bello who shares the same birth year pled no contest to driving under the influence on April 11, according to the Kern County Superior Court.

Bello’s detainment comes just days after the former detainee read a poem aloud at Monday’s Truth Act Forum. His poem focused on injustices in detainment policies, frustrations with Trump Administration policies toward immigrants and the separation of families.

“The fight has begun,” Bello read from his poem during the forum. “At the end of the day, the people always triumph, and the government always loses.”

Jose Bello speaks at Kern’s first Truth Act Forum in December. BY BRYANA LOZOYA

Advocates are now questioning the timing of Bello’s detainment. Bello spoke at Kern’s second Truth Act Forum, which requires law enforcement to release data on its collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“It’s no coincidence,” said Barajas. “Two days later, he’s detained? The timing of it is a suspect of retaliation or something else.”

Bello was detained along with his brother, who was deported in March, by ICE officials in May 2018. Bello was transported to Mesa Verde Detention Facility, a private facility which has been found out of compliance with federal standards, according to a report released in February by the California Department of Justice.

Bello was released in August.

“Bello spoke up about a lot of the inhumane practices happening in Mesa Verde,” said Barajas. “It’s one of these things that has now surfaced again publicly with speaking out.”

This is a developing story. Stay with South Kern Sol for updates.

Featured image by Henry Barrios. Jose Bello was picked up by ICE agents in 2018 in what became an ordeal that continues today. He stands in from of Mesa Verde Detention Facility on Golden State Avenue in Bakersfield where he was detained as his immigration case started through the system.

South Kern Sol is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, youth reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez is the program associate for South Kern Sol. She can be reached at elizabeth@southkernsol.org.