For Immediate Release
June 17, 2016
Federal Prosecutor Drops Criminal Charge Against Portland Day Labor Leader, Attention Turns to ICE as Coalition Pledges to Stop His Deportation and Prevent Criminalization of other Migrants
*** Portland Community Leaders to host Father’s Day Press Conference & Rally at Church Where Francisco Aguirre Sought Sanctuary (see below for details) ***
Portland, OR -- The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced it dropped the reentry prosecution against Portland day laborer & immigrant rights leader Francisco Aguirre. The announcement came as a result of a groundswell of support from individuals across the country who signed letters, petitions, and held vigils demanding that Aguirre be allowed to remain in the U.S. and grieve in peace after the vicious murder of his teenage son, Moises, in El Salvador in February of this year.
Francisco’s case became the subject of national attention after he publicly sought sanctuary in a church following an attempt by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to carry out a warrantless raid on his home. ICE responded by charging Aguirre with “reentry” for having escaped violence in El Salvador fifteen years prior, “re-entering” the US after being deported.
“I am grateful for my family, my day laborer community, my attorneys, and every single person, church, and organization that stood by my side. And I am hopeful that ICE will stop targeting my family, said Francisco Aguirre about his ordeal. He continued, “This initial victory is proof that when we come together, we can win. The only way to ensure justice for migrants is if we come together as a community and defend our basic human rights.”
“The U.S. Attorney made the correct decision to drop a cruel and unnecessary prosecution. It should serve as an example for the DOJ to stop callously prosecuting refugees fleeing for their lives,” said Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON).
Organizations representing the #UnidosConFrancisco efforts pledged to continue organizing to stop ICE’s continued tormenting of the Aguirre family.
Rather than giving Aguirre the opportunity to argue his case for asylum-like humanitarian relief before an immigration judge with all the due process protections which that entails, ICE has served a “Notice of Intent to Issue a Final Administrative Removal Order” (FARO), a little-known maneuver in which an ICE agent orders a non-citizen to be deported without even the limited judicial oversight provided by immigration court.
“We are not not surprised that ICE is resorting to dirty tricks to have him fast-track deported. However, we are confident that given a fair hearing, he will be granted the right to stay with his family in Portland. Basic fairness requires it,” said Olga Tomchin, NDLON Deportation Defense Coordinator & Staff Attorney.
“The same community that defeated this unjust reentry charge will fight to ensure Francisco receives due process. We are launching a new petition to demand that this happens. We’re confident that if Francisco presents his case to an immigration judge, we will stop this injustice,” added Romeo Sosa, Executive Director, VOZ Workers’ Rights Education Project.
*** This Sunday, Portland groups will host a Father’s Day Press Conference & Rally at the Church Where Francisco Aguirre Sought Sanctuary ***
What: Father’s Day Press Conference & Rally
When: Sunday, June 19 at 5:00PM
Where: Augustana Lutheran Church (2710 NE 14th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97212)
Who: Francisco Aguirre, Pastor Mark Knutson, NDLON Director Pablo Alvarado, and other speakers
For more information on Francisco Aguirre’s case,
click here: http://unidosconfrancisco.com/
For Immediate Release // Excuse cross-posting
May 22, 2015
Abolish Immigration Detention
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) welcomes the growing consensus that it is time to end the U.S.’s immoral immigration detention system. In just the last two weeks, House of Representatives members demanded for an immediate end to caging of refugee mothers and children, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley tweeted that “barbed wire detention camps… are cruel, costly & against our values,” Hillary Clinton called for an end to the detention of vulnerable people, and the New York Times declared that immigration detention be ended.
US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has failed to demonstrate a capacity for accountability, due process, access to justice, or human dignity. Community members detained by ICE frequently experience medical neglect, sexual abuse, and even torture in solitary confinement, often without access to legal assistance. Many are regularly transferred hundreds or thousands of miles from their families and support networks. Meanwhile, private prison companies make a profit from our loved ones’ suffering.
NDLON Deportation Defense Coordinator and Staff Attorney Olga Tomchin states, “It’s time to abolish the immigration detention and deportation machinery which deems certain lives and communities to be disposable. Cosmetic reforms are not acceptable. The President and Congress must end this shameful chapter of this country’s history. We reject the replacement of the violent system of incarceration with the degrading one of mass surveillance via ankle monitoring devices.”
Formerly detained people who are now immigrant rights organizers echo these sentiments.
Jonathan Perez of the Immigrant Youth Coalition who was detained in a GEO Group immigration detention facility in Louisiana: "In detention, people are placed in a position of powerlessness with law enforcement. ICE and guards are given absolute power that only allows and encourages them to act out their racism, sexism, and transphobia without any consequences or repercussions."
Luis Nolasco of the ACLU of Southern California and Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition who was detained by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA): “Immigration Detention was a dehumanizing experience that continues to haunt me well after my release from a Georgia facility. What I experienced and saw was the embodiment of Human Misery & Death. The ways in which these facilities operate & function are designed to shut down the human spirit. Because once you go into immigration detention, a part of you dies forever. Physically, mentally or spiritually.”
Ishalaa Serrano of the Audre Lorde Project and Translatina Coalition who was detained by CCA in San Diego: "Respecting humanity is reason enough to end the immigration detention system. We cannot let the government put anyone else in such a tortuous, violent, hateful, racist, homophobic, and transphobic CAGE. I ran for my life and found myself in such a horrible place where I had to give up my freedom, pride, and dignity and could not even control when I used the bathroom.”
Victoria Villalba of Transcend Arizona who was detained in Santa Ana, CA and by CCA in San Diego: "Detention centers are an inhumane way to cover up rape, discrimination, transphobia, homophobia, racism and dehumanization of individuals who have already survived all of that and only want to be safe."
Ricky González of Arcoiris Liberation Team who was detained at Florence Detention Center in Arizona: "Detention centers are centers of discrimination. They make money off of the people who are detained by paying them $1 per day for working."
Alex Aldana of the Immigrant Youth Coalition who was detained by CCA in San Diego: “ICE will never have the capacity to understand immigrants and refugees who are escaping murder and persecution. The hours I spent inside and the post-traumatic anxiety that I developed through being detained force me to relive many memories of how hard I have fought just to survive as a human being.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE // PLEASE EXCUSE CROSS-POSTINGS // PLEASE FORWARD
Date: March 16, 2015
Immigrant Rights Groups Call for Transparency as They Serve FOIA Request to Uncover the Truth about ICE's “Discontinuation” of Secure Communities
WHAT: ICE out of LA Coalition will deliver FOIA request to local ICE Field Office
WHEN: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30AM
WHERE: ICE Field Office 300 North Los Angeles, CA 90012 (front of bldg)
WHO: Individuals and immigrant rights organizations from Los Angeles County including - Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA), Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education Los Angeles (ASPIRE-LA), California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA), Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Community Labor Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) Carwash Campaign, Dream Team Los Angeles (DTLA), Enlace, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Garment Worker Center, Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC), Los Angeles Immigrant Youth Coalition (LA-IYC), National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), San Gabriel Valley Immigrant Youth Coalition (SGV-IYC)
(Los Angeles, CA) — On Tuesday, immigrant rights groups will gather outside of the local Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Field Office to deliver a copy of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request served to the Department of Homeland Security in New York last week. The ICE out of LA Coalition will also include a set of information inquiries about the work of ICE in the Los Angeles County--such as the extent of collaboration with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Departments, the 287(g) program, etc. The ICE out of LA Coalition considers the information requested to be vital to the work that we are doing on the ground and as a means for building trust between the community and local law enforcement.
This request for basic information about the PEP-COMM deportation program and other ICE Access Programs comes at a uniquely important time. Administrative relief offering work authorization for millions of immigrants remains temporarily postponed by a federal district court judge, Congress has now fully funded DHS to enforce demonstrably outdated and unjust laws, and President Obama’s own Task Force on Policing has called for a firewall between police and immigration functions. Against this backdrop, immigrant workers will call for transparency and accountability over ICE’s continued efforts to force local police into the immigration enforcement business.
“DHS has itself acknowledged the failure of Secure Communities, but this new program continues to entangle ICE with local police, leaving us with more questions than answers," said Jessica Karp Bansal, Litigation Director at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “At a bare minimum, DHS is obligated by law to be transparent with the public about what PEP means for immigrants and their families.”
The FOIA reads in part:
…the [Nov. 20th] memorandum gives very little information on how PEP differs from S-Comm, if at all. There is no reason for the public to believe that PEP is an improvement based on what has been presented to date… the public may still face all of the same abuses it faced under S-Comm. These include: a blurred line between local and state law enforcement and immigration enforcement; racial profiling and the targeting of immigrants…
Speakers will be available for comment.