#FreeLuis: What You Can Do To Bring Berkeley Student Home

Update: Since ICE has refused to release Mr. Mora on his own recognizance or under an order of supervision, we’ve requested a bond hearing for Mr. Mora. It will be on January 17th, 2018. This means he will likely miss the first few days of classes at UC Berkeley, and have been detained for merely overstaying a visa for over 2 weeks. 

On December 30th, Luis Mora, a junior at UC Berkeley, was apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a checkpoint in Jamul, near San Diego. Almost immediately, through Luis Mora’s partner, the Berkeley undocumented student group, RISE, got in touch with me and informed me as to what had happened. They started organizing as I tried to figure out where Luis was detained. I finally got a hold of him on Monday evening. He was detained in deplorable conditions for over four days at Barracks 5, which is supposed to only be used as a temporary holding facility. I contacted Barracks 5 for visitation rights with the help of another attorney more familiar with the area, and they told me that I could see him only between 12pm and 2pm on Thursday. They did not even allow him a pencil to write down my phone number.

As I traveled down to San Diego to see finally him on Wednesday evening, Luis was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at Otay Mesa Detention Center, a facility that has been sued for human trafficking. I finally got to see him on Thursday morning. I sought the help of his Senators and Congressional representatives, and requested that ICE release him on an order of supervision or an order of recognizance so that Luis can come back to UC Berkeley in time to resume the Spring semester of classes. Thus far, ICE has refused to accept this reasonable offer despite Congressional and mounting public pressure. They have kicked the can to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), and want us to fight for bond in front of an Immigration Judge. Alas, they have not filed his case with the court yet so Luis is languishing in detention without due process.

I have never had to conduct a bond hearing for a mere visa overstay; for those who do not understand how egregious this situation is, it is akin to asking for a bond hearing for someone jailed over a speeding ticket. And Luis does not even have a speeding ticket.

At this point, we are preparing for a bond hearing and to represent Luis Mora in removal proceedings before the EOIR. We are also working on long-term immigration relief for Luis. We are overwhelmed by the media attention as well as the community support behind Luis. Here is what you can do to assist us in bringing him home:

  • Write letters of support on behalf of Luis to the Immigration Judge to set bond. We would love to have letters from Congresspersons, state and local officials, national organizations, friends and family. Directives as to how to do this are posted here, along with information on where to mail the letters.

 

  • Donate to his bond fund: Once the Immigration Judge sets bond, we can post the bond, and have Luis home in no time. Once Luis gets lawful residence status, we will get this money back, with interest, and the funds will go towards helping other undocumented students who are similarly detained.

 

  • Write to Luis while he is sitting in a jail cell: For those interested in writing to Luis Mora, you can send letters via U.S. mail to:

Luis Angel MORA VILLOTA

A#216-265-396

Otay Mesa Detention Center

P.O Box 439049

San Diego, CA 92143

  • Put money in Luis Mora’s detainee account: The Otay Mesa Detention Facility was recently sued for human trafficking because the private facility coerces jailed immigrants to work at $1.00/hr and sometimes without pay for basic necessities. Please continue to put money into Luis Mora’s detainee account so that he can make regular calls to his legal counsel and he is not forced to work or trafficked in this private facility.For those interested in doing so, using Western Union transfer services, you’ll need the following:

First Name:  Luis Last Name:  Mora

Facility:  Corrections Corp of America

Inmate #: 5400517

Receiver Information

Biller or Facility Name: CORRECTIONS CORP OF AMERICA

Code City/State: XOTAYM IA

  • Leave Luis messages: Call 888-516-0115. You’d first need to deposit money into your friends and family account. Then go back to main menu and leave a voicemail for him. Voicemails cost $1.17 plus tax/fees to leave. He can call you back from the center from his detainee account.

 

  • Tweet your support for Luis Mora: The graphic above contains a list of demands to continue to pressure our elected representatives–and UC Berkeley–accountable to our community.

Thank you so much for all your love and support. I am confident that we will bring Luis home. He may miss a few weeks of the Spring semester, but we are working hard to ensure that he will still graduate in Spring 2019 with a Political Science degree in one hand and a green card in the another. You can count on me for that.

If you have something to spare after doing all the actions for Luis Mora above and if you appreciate my work, please consider donating to my tip jar. I’ve been doing this work pro-bono for a long time, and I don’t get paid much relative to Bay Area housing costs and supporting my own family. I need help taking care of myself too so I can take care of Luis Mora and other students like him. I would also appreciate it if friends could bring me food or kombucha while I’m burning the midnight oil. Every little bit counts.  

DACA Repeal

Hello friends,

I haven’t blogged in a while. The Trump Administration is keeping me busy. Sometimes I wonder why I chose this life, and then I have to remind myself that sometimes we don’t choose our destiny. Sometimes, we just have to figure out that we are where we are because it was meant to be.

I’ve put out some (hopefully) helpful FAQs with regards to the DACA repeal. Please share them widely.

For those who are in a position to give, I am also fundraising to help pay for the DACA renewal fees of community members who cannot come up with $495 at the drop of a hat, to file their renewals.

Donations are tax-deductible! Under “I want my donation to be dedicated” please put “DACA” or “Immigration”

If you’re the media, or have questions about other immigration matters, I may not get back to you for several weeks. Additionally, I will be out of the country between September 23 and October 15th. I appreciate your patience during these trying times.

 

Who Is Banned from the U.S. this Week?

Update: Grandparents are no longer banned.

Reuters has published a leaked State Department cable outlining who cannot get a visa to the U.S. under the new Muslim ban.

In particular, refugee admission from the six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) has been suspended for the next 120 days. “Close family” has been defined to exclude the following:  grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other “extended” family members.

The ban takes effect tomorrow.

Resisting the #MuslimBan

Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Friday, purporting to suspend the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days, with certain exceptions; suspend the admission of Syrian refugees for an undefined period; and suspend entry of lawful permanent residents, refugees, and non-immigrants, such as visitors and students, from certain Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Somalia) for at least 90 days.

Since then, thousands of protestors, upon hearing about the detention of travelers to the United States, have taken to occupying airports, while lawyers are working overtime to get legal help for people detained at airports. Below, I share some travel tips for people, and families of those from designated countries.

1. If detained at a CA airport under Executive Order, call local ACLU hotline:

SFO 415-621-2488
LAX 213-977-5245
SAN 619-398-4485

2. A federal district judge in New York has stayed the Executive Order. The stay is temporary but effective immediately and nationwide, and is an order to CBP to not remove people under the Executive Order (and should also extend to those who are trying to enter the U.S.). If your non-citizen family or friends are traveling from countries that have been designated on the list (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen), tell them to print out a copy of the stay order and carry it on them: http://documents.latimes.com/deportations-stay-trump/.

If non-citizens continue to be harassed, detained, interrogated, tell them to make copious notes and get names and details of how long they waited, what happened, who they spoke to and precisely what was said. Keep demanding access to counsel and not sign anything.

Lawyers for other families who are detained can use the pleadings filed in the New York case so they do not need to reinvent the wheel.

Additional orders issued by judges:

3. Anyone who holds a passport from a designated country is considered as being “from” the designated country. This includes dual citizens who hold passports from a designated country, as well as a non-designated country.

4. For lawful permanent residents, DHS is admitting people on a case by case basis, following additional and invasive screenings. Any green card holders from designated countries should make sure not to sign the I-407/ Record of abandonment of lawful permanent residence. CBP officers often coerce and deceive people into doing this as a condition of release from detention. If detained for extended periods, people should similarly, take notes, take names, ask for their lawyer, ask to speak to the Congressional representative, and demand to see an immigration judge.

5. People from designated countries, even dual nationals, should try to not travel abroad at this time, unless one absolutely must. Reports indicate that people abroad are not being allowed to board airplanes (even with visas) and even visa interviews for citizens of these countries have been canceled (with the exception of those who hold diplomatic visas).

6. Contact your Congressperson:

If you know who your representative is but you are unable to contact them using their contact form, the Clerk of the House maintains addresses and phone numbers of all House members and Committees, or you may call (202)225-3121 for the U.S. House switchboard operator.

7. For those persecuted in their home countries or fear of persecution in countries CBP would return them to, individuals should speak to their lawyers to discuss claims to asylum and demand a credible fear interview at ports of entry.

8. There are some rumors that USCIS will stop processing applications for naturalization, work permits, travel permits, green card renewals, and other immigration benefits for people from these designated countries. We are waiting for an official announcement. This is very clearly outside the scope of Presidential authority and the executive order, and will lead to many more lawsuits.

9. Media:

NY Times.  If you have been impacted by this Executive Order, willing to share your story with the media and public, the New York Times is asking for those stories to be shared with them via email to immigration@nytimes.com.

There are many other outlets looking for stories of people who have been impacted.

10. For everyone else, see you at the airports!

#NoBanNoWall#MuslimBan

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice.

A MESSAGE TO TRUMP: WE’RE NOT GOING BACK IN THE SHADOWS

In These Times reached out to me shortly after the election for a thought piece on how Donald Trump’s election will impact immigrant rights organizing. The piece was a cover article for the magazine’s December 2016 issue, and can be found online now:

A MESSAGE TO TRUMP: WE’RE NOT GOING BACK IN THE SHADOWS 

Enjoy.