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/