Yellow Springs residents are reacting to news the owner of a popular village taco business could be deported. Miguel’s Tacos owner Miguel Espinosa is currently in immigration detention at the Butler County Jail.
Village officials say Espinosa was first arrested in Greene County for driving without a license and other violations before U.S. Marshals officers brought him to the Butler County facility.
Maeve Korkan-Laughlin works at Asanda Imports next door to Miguel’s Tacos and says Espinosa’s food business improved the quality of life in the village.
“He kind of transformed this area behind Asanda here. It used to just be a bunch of weeds and now he has his little taco truck area and tables and now there's another art bus that just opened," she says, "and it’s just a way nicer place to hang out than it ever was.”
Rumors of Espinosa's detention began swirling in Yellow Springs late last week.
On Tuesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials confirmed Espinosa is expected to remain in ICE custody pending his removal from the U.S., saying in a statement:
"On Aug. 28, ICE deportation officers took custody of unlawfully present Mexican national Miguel Espinosa, pursuant to a detainer previously filed with local authorities. He was allowed to voluntarily depart from the U.S. in 2000. He will remain in ICE custody pending removal from the U.S."
After Espinosa's arrest, Yellow Springs Police Department officials said the department is reviewing its protocols, guidelines and policies, "to find a better solution that meets our legal requirements, ensures public safety and well-being of the community, and is sensitive to the dynamics of vulnerable populations."
The full statement released on behalf of Yellow Springs Police Chief Brian Carlson reads:
"On August 26, 2019, local resident Miguel Espinosa was taken to the Greene County Jail for driving suspension violations and no operators license, where he was held and subsequently transported to the Butler County Jail relating to a detainer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Current police protocol instructs our officers take repeat offenders of these particular offenses to the Greene County Jail as an effort to change the behavior. We are saddened by the unintended consequences of our protocol on Mr. Espinosa. We, as a municipal government and police department, must face the reality of the catastrophic damage that our actions can have, particularly on our vulnerable populations.
As a result of this incident, we are reviewing our protocols, guidelines and policies to find a better solution that meets our legal requirements, ensures public safety and well-being of the community, and is sensitive to the dynamics of vulnerable populations.
The Yellow Springs Police Department will continue to explore ways to protect every person we encounter."