Press Release
October 12, 2015
Contacts: Olga Tomchin, // Yadira Sanchez,

In Response to Targeting of Grandfather, Family Demands Meeting with ICE Director Saldaña and Answers for Libelous Statements, Highlights Additional Cases

(San Francisco, CA) – Today, the family of 67-year old grandfather Apolinar Sanchez Cornejo (“Abuelito Poly”), along with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC), announced steps ICE must take to vindicate his reputation and highlighted other grandparents and vulnerable individuals targeted by federal immigration enforcement (ICE).

In a letter to ICE, the family and organizations are demanding that ICE “immediately cease and desist from defaming him and the family, apologize for this libelous statement, and explain how such a serious and indefensible mistake could have been made.” ICE Spokesperson Virginia Kice has acknowledged that Abuelito Poly was never convicted of domestic violence, but ICE continues to assert that he was arrested for it.

NDLON and IYC are demanding that ICE Director Sarah Saldaña meet with Abuelito Poly’s family to deliver an apology and explanation, a request that has been incorporated into Abuelito’s petition demanding that his deportation proceedings be dismissed.

Abuelito Poly and his family have also filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information concerning the raid on his home, the attempted deportation, and the lies by ICE.

In addition to trying to deport Abuelito Poly, traumatizing him and his family, ICE has insisted on lying to the press that he had previously been convicted of domestic violence.

“I saw the statement ICE gave about my husband Apolinar Sanchez Cornejo, what they say is a lie,” says Apolinar’s wife, who goes by Abuelita Vicky. “I’m his wife, we have lived together 45 years and I have never been mistreated. We get along well. That’s why my heart broke when I was taking him, I felt helpless. He is my support and the love of my life. Don’t say things about him that are not true!”

Abuelito Poly’s family members highlighted other cases of vulnerable loved ones targeted by ICE in California. “We are not just fighting for my Abuelito, we are fighting for all abuelit@s, elders, and loved ones who are being attacked, criminalized, and scapegoated by ICE,” said Abuelito Poly’s granddaughter Yadira.

Yadira continued, “We are fighting for Venecia Santiago, a grandmother and domestic violence survivor who has been detained by ICE for three years. We are fighting for Gerardo Corrales, whom ICE tried to deport last week, even though he is a paralyzed teenager who has experienced life-threatening medical abuse while detained by ICE at a for-profit immigration prison. We are fighting for Ernesto Reynoso Cardenas, another grandfather who faced ICE lies about prior convictions. With the power of the community, we will win.”

Abuelito’s son Alvaro added, “While ICE is making up lies about my father committing domestic violence, ICE and the deportation and detention systems are the ones who are actually violently harming my family and my community.”

Olga Tomchin, Deportation Defense Coordinator & Staff Attorney at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network stated, “ICE has shown a continuous disregard for the truth through its lies about Abuelito, its lack of transparency on how PEP will function, and its blatant disregard for its own internal policies and standards on detention and deportation. We refuse to tolerate ICE’s slander of Abuelito and the immigrant community.”


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