Today more than 500 people faced Chicago winter to let president Obama know that there needs to be a stop to deportations. On the first day of his second-term inauguration, families that have been broken up by deportation spoke publicly at Federal Plaza, telling their stories and calling for a moratorium. The families who shared their stories are also taking part in campaigns to stop the deportation of their loved ones. IYJL has been collaborating with the families, and organizations supporting the families, sharing our knowledge of how to tell our stories, gathering signatures, raising money, and helping write press releases, such as the one below.
Illinois Families Separated by Deportation Ask President Obama for Moratorium
March and rally on first day of the President’s 2nd term features stories of families broken up by immigration authorities, highlighting the need for policy that keeps families together.
What: Immigrant Rights March for a Moratorium on Deportations
When: 11:00am Monday, January 21, 2013
Where: Daley Plaza 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, IL (Rally will then march to Federal Plaza, estimated arrival 12:00pm)
Who: Families of workers who were detained in Immigration raids, Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Mission, Centro Sin Fronteras, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refuggee Rights, the Immigrant Youth Justice League, the Latino Union of Chicago, Moratorium on Deportations.
Stories Highlighted at Today’s March
Josefina Mora is a mother of three United States citizen between 5 and 10 years old. Her husband, Urbano Olmedo Lopez, has been away from his family since November 2012, after he was turned over to immigration authorities by local police during a driver’s license check point. When he was stopped he was on his way to court for another traffic ticket involving his lack of driver’s license. He arrived to the United States in 1985, at the age of 9. He has one prior deportation from his youth, but for the last 12 years that he has been married to Josefina, he has stayed out of trouble with the police and immigration. Josefina describes Olmedo as a good parent and a hard-working husband. One of the hardest things for he has been the effect his detention has had on her children, one of whom has a hernia and the other an ear problem. She says it has been difficult to keep up with their medical needs without her husband, as he used to take them to the doctor before his detention. Josefina also fears that the detention is having a psychological effect on her children, and is looking to take them to counseling, “I see them cry every night, and ask me when their father is coming home,” she explains.
Jose Adolfo is a day laborer from the Albany Park neighborhood. In early December, an immigration raid was performed at one of the city’s busiest and oldest hiring sites in the Albany Park neighborhood. Day laborers, who according to a UIC study called on the corner, are one of our societies most vulnerable work forces, with high rates of accidents and deaths at the job sites and unpaid wages. Jose Adolfo was one of 7 workers detained during a raid in early December. After community pressure, Jose was released on Bond and will need to present himself in court in February. “Why do they say they are looking for criminals? But instead perform a raid at a location where our most vulnerable and most abused workers in our society go to look for work in order to support their families, criminals don’t stand in the cold for hours to wait for work, workers with families do.”
Efrain Muñoz is one of the 34 workers detained at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid at the Chicago Pallets Service Inc. Efrain is the breadwinner for his family, and at 38 years old has lived in Chicago for 14 years. He has three U.S. citizen children and three children that are eligible for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), the oldest of which is just had her baby while her father was in detention. The family has had a hard time economically, after he was detained and the court required them to pay a $10,000 bond right before the holiday season. Although he is out of detention, his deportation looms over the family, which they report made his daughter’s pregnancy more difficult. Efrain explains that he wants to stay for his family and for his children. In addition, he recently bought a home in Chicago, which he describes as a dream come true, and something he fears losing if he is deported.
IYJL’s Current Anti-Deportation Campaigns:
Jose Francisco Jasso came home one morning in 2011 to find two Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents at his doorstep asking for his son. Upon entering the apartment they proceeded to arrest him and wake up his other children. As his son was being taken away Mr. Jasso told the agents he did not think that what they were doing was right, and that his wife had an immigration petition from her brother. The ICE agents told Mr. Jasso that the petitions covered his wife but not him. A few weeks later Mr. Jasso received a notice to appear in front of an immigration judge in September. He has been in deportation proceedings ever since.Although his son has been deported, Mr. Jasso’s two other children are both eligible for deferred action for childhood arrivals. One of his children requires medication, which costs between 500 and 400 a bottle, a price the family would not be able to afford if the father gets deported. Though Mr. Jasso has one charge of disorderly conduct from 2005, he has already paid a fine and gone to counseling for that and has been working hard to provide for his family, including his son that was deported to Mexico. He has been given voluntary departure, and is currently appealing his case. IYJL is raising money to support the appeal.
Mario de la Rosa came to the United States seeking medical treatment for his son Alejandro, since doctors in Mexico said he would not be able to live and were unable to diagnose him. In March 1997, Mario crossed the border undocumented to begin work so that he could support his family when they arrived. To reunite with Mario and save her son’s life, Alejandro’s mother carried him across the desert to be with Mario so that together they could provide Alejandro the medical care he requires. In February 2011, Mario was returning home from work when he was pulled over by the Waukegan Police Department for driving with a broken taillight. Rather than being issued a citation, Mario was detained, turned over to immigration authorities and subsequently placed in deportation proceedings.
People Detained at Chicago Palate Inc. DHS Raid
These are families that were placed in removal proceedings after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted an operation at the Chicago Pallets Service Inc. in November 2012. The work of community organizations led to 31 of the 34 workers released, but 3 have already been deported. The rest of them are still fighting orders of deportation. Below are some of the stories of the people affected by this operation, who are also marching today.
Juan Jose Chavez is 34 years old and has been in the U.S for over 12 years. He has three U.S. citizen children, ages 9, 5 and 4. He has no criminal convictions.
Canderlario Guzman Castillo has been in this country since 2002. He has been steadily employed and has two U.S. citizen children, ages 7 and 9 years old. He was stopped once for driving without a license, but has no criminal arrests or convictions. He is one of the workers detained at the Chicago Palate Inc., and has described ICE agents demanding his proof of citizenship at the time of the raid, and then arresting him when he could not provide one.
Antonio Avalos is 43 years old. He has a U.S. citizen daughter and has been working steadily for 14 years. He will qualify for “cancellation of deportation” – but he will have to pay a lawyers and wait through the court system for over a year. Meanwhile he has lost his job and had to spend thousands of dollars in bail. His case could be closed by immigration without spending what it could cost to process him through the courts.
Arturo Munoz has been in the country for 11 years and has three U.S. citizen children. He is 38 years old. Like Antonio, because he has been more than ten years in the country and has U.S. citizen children, no criminal record and a good record of employment, he could qualify for cancellation of removal and get a green card. Meanwhile, he will pay bond, lawyers and have to find another job.
Geovanni Luna is 19 years old and has been in this country for seven years. He comes from Sonora, Mexico, and he was 11 years old when he crossed the border. He is eligible for DACA but remains in deportation proceedings.
On January 21st, Inauguration day and Martin Luther King Day, families of those recently targeted in immigration raids and supporting organizations are calling for a March and rally for a moratorium on deportations starting at 11:00am at Daley Plaza and marching to Federal Plaza.