FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – It’s been one month since the video of a man being arrested in Fresno by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sparked online debate. Hugo Hernández was on his way to drop off his kids Sandra and Eduardo Hernández at school when he got pulled over by ICE.
“Arrestaron a apá,” or “they arrested dad,” Eduardo said while in tears on the phone with his mom in the video that his sister Sandra was recording.
Now, Hugo’s children are breaking their silence.
“That day, it was like a normal day, I told my dad if he could drop me off to school early, and on the way to school, my dad saw that he got pulled over,” Eduardo said.
Eduardo said they weren’t sure if the officer was with the police or with ICE until they saw his badge.
“I plead the fifth,” Hugo Hernández said after Eduardo told him to do so. The officers then proceed to say “Okay, that doesn’t matter, I don’t care, he needs to come out, I gotta talk to him, not him talk to me.”
KSEE24 & CBS47 reached out to ICE a month ago when the story was first reported, but they did not provide any information on Hernández’s case. Again, KSEE24 & CBS47 reached out on Thursday but received no immediate response.
Hugo Hernández’s attorney Linda Barreto said she and Hernández’s family have yet to hear from ICE as to why they pulled him over.
“ICE has some kind of information on him because we know that they were specifically looking for the individual, but we don’t know why,” Barreto said.
Now, Sandra and Eduardo both say it’s a scene ingrained in their memory.
“I was obviously crying and crying, I couldn’t stop because I wanted my dad to get back in the car, and I wanted us to continue with our normal day like any other day,” Sandra said.
In the video, the officers tell Sandra and Eduardo that if their mom doesn’t show up, they’re going to have to call Child Protective Services.
“It’s like a videotape playing over and over, seeing the event, just seeing your dad get forced out of the car,” Eduardo said.
Hugo Hernández has two other kids who were not present in the car during the incident. The family said Hugo was the one who provided for the family while his wife stayed home with their two-year-old son. The family has set up a GoFundMe page.
“For me, it’s been really difficult, it’s weird not seeing my dad in the house, even after school, I’d always see him, in the morning, he would always drop me off,” Eduardo said.
The kids are now using their experience to plan a community march on Dec. 14. In the meantime, Barreto said they’re hoping for the best for Hugo Hernández’s case, who remains detained in Bakersfield.
“The first step is getting the bond hearing, which is next week, and so we are hoping to gather more community support to return Hugo to his family,” Barreto said.
But for the time being, the Hernández family is living in limbo.