Bakersfield student out of ICE custody with intervention of NFL players

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — At least one Saint was looking out for Jose Bello.

Demario Davis, a linebacker with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, and Josh Norman, a cornerback for the Washington Redskins, were among those who paid $50,000 bail for Bello, arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents after reciting an anti-ICE poem at a Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Bello is now free, according to the ACLU of Southern California. The Bakersfield College student is represented pro bono by the United Farm Workers Foundation.

“Jose Bello was exercising a fundamental right that we pride ourselves on as Americans,” Norman said in an ACLU release. “If he was detained for reciting a peaceful poem, then we should really ask ourselves, are our words truly free? This is America, right?”

Bellow was arrested at his home May 15, about 36 hours after reciting his poem.

Norman and Davis are members of the Players Coalition, a group of athletes working to improve social justice. Others who helped pay Bello’s bail are the New York Immigration Freedom Fund and the National Bail Fund Network, according to the ACLU.

ICE agents previously arrested and detained Bello in May 2018, saying he was a gang member with a violent past who had prior run-ins with immigration enforcement.

Bello was released from custody three months later.  

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