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Erik Javier Flores Hernandez is an undocumented immigrant with a pending asylum application, but according to a Los Angeles law firm, he was transferred from a children’s shelter to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) adult detention facility the day he turned 18 and became a legal adult. The Immigrant Defenders Law Center, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to advancing social justice for immigrants in Southern California, posted on Facebook Saturday:

Erik came to the US as an unaccompanied minor fleeing horrific violence and seeking refuge from death threats. After arriving to the US, Erik was placed in a children’s shelter while he fought his deportation case. He has an asylum application pending and is committed to fighting his case. Erik turns 18 years old today, but what would be a celebration for most kids, will be the beginning of a new nightmare for Erik. ICE came to his shelter this morning, placed him in shackles and detained him. He is currently in custody on his way to an adult ICE detention facility.

This is occurring despite the trauma he has suffered, despite that he came here as an unaccompanied child, despite his pending asylum claim, and with no consideration of the dangers of placing this traumatized youth into an adult ICE detention facility. Erik has family in the community who are willing to sponsor him. Erik has volunteers who have offered to help connect him with resources to help him heal. Erik is represented by an attorney with the Immigrant Defenders Law Center. Erik has no criminal history. Erik has been the victim of traumatic violence and fled his country to seek safety here in the US.

Julia Wick, editor in chief at LAist, has been providing more details about Hernandez’s case on Twitter:

Numerous Twitter users have expressed support for Hernandez under the hashtag “#FreeErikNOW.” Read the full statement from the Immigrant Defenders Law Center here.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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