Tag Archives: detention

Executive Action on Immigration: Good, Bad, and Ugly

I went to bed last night mentally doing a checklist of everyone I know who qualifies and does not qualify under the President’s immigration action. As a community advocate and formerly undocumented immigrant, the word that most aptly describes last night is “bitter-sweet.”

While the announcement is not enough, we do need to celebrate our victories, and what change this temporary reprieve will bring to so many members of the community. However, I am also frankly terrified for those that it would not help, and what would happen in the absence of permanent changes.

I am making a quick reference checklist here for myself, family members and friends, similar to the one I made for the Senate immigration bill two years ago as a community advocate. These are simply my initial mental impressions of the various memos released by the DHS yesterday and available here. They are in no particular order:


  1. Expansion of DACA – The DHS will remove the upper level age cap on DACA so people who were above the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 will not miss out. The date of entry was moved to January 1, 2010 from June 15, 2007, which means thousands more people who are newer arrivals would benefit. DACA will also be made into a temporary reprieve of 3 years, and the changes rolled out in 3 months.
  2. The New DAPA program – The DHS is tasked with creating a separate deferred action program for parents of U.S. citizen sons/daughters or LPR sons/daughters born before November 21, 2014. Parents must have resided in the U.S. since at least January 1, 2010, physically present in the U.S. on the day of announcement and have no lawful status, passed background checks, and are otherwise not ineligible (i.e. not an enforcement priority according to the new Johnson memo).
  3. The provisional stateside waiver (I-601A) will be extended to all family members eligible, which will now include adult sons and daughters, and spouses of LPRs. The provisional waiver is for the 3/10 year bar for unlawful entry, and requires an individual to prove “extreme hardship” to their U.S. citizen family member if they are deported. Usually, individuals who are trying to adjust their status in the U.S. but entered the country unlawfully, need to travel abroad to their home country for approval of a waiver. In 2012, the Administration started accepting “extreme hardship” waivers without requiring immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to leave and wait outside. Now this benefit is also available to the children and spouses of lawful permanent residents. This provision will require rule-making, so it will take some time to roll this out. The DHS will also engage in rule-making to expand the “extreme hardship” definition.
  4. Naturalization – Lawful permanent residents who are naturalizing can now pay via credit card and may qualify for fee waivers.
  5. Expansion of parole-in-place to immediate relatives of those U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who “seek to enlist” in the US Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, or the Reserve of any of the five Armed Services). This benefit means that not only would the family members of those who seek to enlist not be subject deported–they may also be eligible to adjust their status in the future.
  6. Clarification of travel on advance parole by DHS so that people on DAP, DACA can travel abroad, and return to adjust their status in the U.S.
  7. Department of Labor (DOL) reforms: DOL will start issuing U visa certifications in three key areas: extortion, forced labor, and fraud in foreign labor contracting, and certify applications for trafficking victims seeking T visas. According to DOL, “These efforts will significantly help qualifying victims of these crimes receive immigration relief from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and access the range of victim services that they need to recover and rebuild their lives.”
  8. Reforms to the employment-based immigration system such as extension of OPT for STEM graduates, defining “specialized knowledge” for L-1B intracompany transferees, increasing H-1B portability by having USCIS define “same or similar” jobs, expanding the use of the “national interest waiver” and starting a new parole program to bring talented entrepreneurs to the U.S.


  1. Elimination of Secure Communities with a new program that targets immigrant communities: DHS is replacing the current “Secure Communities”  program with a new “Priority Enforcement Program” to remove individuals convicted of criminal offenses. While it could be a marked improvement that moves us from a pre-conviction to post-conviction model and uses notification instead of detainers, unfortunately, this continues the entanglement of local law enforcement with immigration enforcement.
  2. Exclusions for parents of DACA recipients, undocumented workers and farm workers without families, and LGBT individuals less likely to have family members in the U.S. – While these exclusions are not categorical, and some parents of DACA recipients who also have U.S. citizen/LPR children would continue to benefit, the President’s immigration action does not specifically benefit those who do not have immediate family ties to the U.S. but are nonetheless, members of our community. It is also unclear at this point whether parents with final orders or re-entries after deportation would be eligible for the program. At this point it appears that they would be eligible since they are not priorities under the new memo.
  3. Visa backlogs – The announcement punts on the question of family visa backlogs that affect so many of us. However, there will be Presidential Memorandum to create an interagency group to look at “visa modernization” which has 120 days to prepare recommendations for further action.
  4. Limited expansion of DACA:  It is great to see an expansion of DACA and elimination of the age-cap. It would have been nice to see public benefits such as ACA (healthcare) given to DACA recipients, as well as increasing the age of entry to 18 from 16 years.
  5. Employment-based immigration: DHS expects to finalize regulation on H4 visa holders soon but the rule will not be expanded to all H4 visa holders
  6. New enforcement priorities that continue to target immigrant communities: The President is rescinding past memos such as the Morton Memo, and issuing a new one, effective January 5, 2015. The new priorities are troubling and continue to criminalize immigrant and border communities, pitting good immigrants against bad immigrants, and separating families. I have listed the priorities below, and some initial thoughts on each:

Priority 1: Non-citizens convicted of aggravated felonies, suspected terrorists, convicted gang members, people apprehended at the border while unlawfully entering the U.S., will be a priority for removal unless they qualify for asylum or another immigration benefit.

Most troubling here is the use of language such as “suspected terrorists” without built in civil rights protections that discourage racial profiling. Additionally, people apprehended at the border will now be a top priority, even though many are coming to reunite with family. The prioritization of people with gang-related membership (without conviction) is very troubling, as law enforcement targets specific racial/ethnic groups as gang-affiliated.  

Priority 2: Non-citizens convicted of three or more misdemeanor offenses, non-citizens convicted of significant misdemeanors (including DUI), non-citizens apprehended who entered after January 1, 2014; non-citizens who are perceived to abuse the visa waiver program should be a priority of removal unless they qualify for asylum or another immigration benefit.

Significant misdemeanors – a new legal fiction created by DACA – is here to stay, even though it has no legal foundation. The prioritization of people with a DUI, and their exclusion from DACA, is incredibly troubling, as is the prioritization of people who overstay their visas under the visa waiver program. Many of these people are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and have much to contribute to the U.S.

Priority 3: Non-citizens issued final orders of removal after January 1, 2014 should generally be a priority for removal unless they qualify for asylum, or another immigration benefit.

Immigrants who dared to come to the U.S. in 2014 will now be subject to draconian enforcement. 


  1. Increased border enforcement – DHS plans to fund an additional 20,000 CBP agents, and continue to trend towards further border militarization of the Southern border we share with Mexico.
  2. Ramped up interior enforcement through existing programs such as the Criminal Alien Removal (CARI) Program, which profiles Latinos for detention and deportation, and  ICE raids, which will continue under these new announcements, despite right-wing talking points.
  3. Due process concerns: Expedited deportations and Operation Streamline will continue.
  4. No reforms to the existing detention system: Family detention will continue as the DHS opens a brand new center in Dilley, Texas, and arriving asylum seekers at the border will continue to be detained.

Finally, I just want to say that this is a deeply personal issue for me. I want to send some love and light to everyone who has worked hard for this announcement and emotionally drained from yesterday, and left out or have family members who are left out. I had a cab-driver yesterday, who unexpectedly started telling me about his son, and trying to figure out how to bring him here, just as I was getting out of the cab. I wish I had the time and opportunity to help him, and I hope he reunites with his son soon. We all deserve justice; we all deserve to be able to reunite with our families; and we most certainly deserve to be able to go home to safety–wherever that is.

If anyone has further thoughts, questions and concerns, feel free to comment or contact me.


Filed under Immigration

The Lies Behind Deportation Statistics

Democrat apologists are coming out of the woodwork to defend the Obama Administration’s deportation record.

After all, once you deport 2 million people, expand immigration enforcement, and preside over the largest immigration detention complex in the world, there is nothing stopping even the conservative National Council of La Raza from calling you ‘Deporter-in-Chief.’

The esteemed Julia Preston for the New York Times tells us that court deportations have dropped 43 percent in five years. There is a very simple explanation for why court deportations are down. It is because most people are being deported without ever even seeing a judge, through a process called expedited removal–a term that is so impersonal, but essentially means deportation. Preston paints a rosy picture of the deportation crisis by ignoring the reality that 75 percent of people removed from the country never even saw a judge. They were deported in the most inhumane way–without due process of law. Moreover, due to budget reasons, our immigration courts are so backlogged that many people languish in limbo for years–awaiting a final hearing–before they are deported. And many people in removal proceedings are lawyering up, which makes removal less likely through the immigration court system, and much more likely through the process of “expedited removals.”

The most creative attempt to make the President look good on deportations comes from the New Democrats Network (NDN). The NDN report plays on the legally-crafted distinction between removals and returns to say that Obama may be “removing” more people but is “returning” less than Bush:

The NDN report shows that removals under Obama’s administration have indeed increased, from a record low of 165,168 during the Bush administration in 2002 to a record high of 419,384 in 2012. However, the number of returns has plummeted — dropping sharply from 2008 to 2009, when Obama first took office, and declining steadily since. In 2001, there were 1,349,371 returns, but in 2012 there were only 229,968 — a drop of nearly 83 percent.

What’s the difference between removals and returns? Well, deportation is a rather harsh word, so lawmakers have opted to move away from it since 1996, and categorize deportations as “removals” and “returns.” Removals are actual deportations, and returns constitute voluntary departure. For the government, voluntary departure expedites and reduces the cost of removal. For the non-citizen, voluntary departure removes the stigma of deportation and allows a person more time to depart the country at her or his expense. Many times, non-citizens are actually forced into accepting voluntary departure, so the phrase is a euphemism in practice, and literally means deportation from the country, without the harsh legal consequences of removal.

The 2 million figure contains both removals and returns. However, as the NDN reports admits, Obama has presided over more removals than returns, which means people face harsher consequences if they are deported nowadays. The Immigration Policy Center confirms that the trend has been towards removal rather than return:

The end result is that the number of “removals” (deportations) has trended upward since the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, the number of apprehensions has fluctuated widely, primarily in response to changing economic conditions in the United States and Mexico, and nose-dived when the recession of late 2007 hit. The number of “voluntary returns” has tracked apprehensions closely. However, since 2005, voluntary return has been made available to fewer and fewer apprehended immigrants as deportation (with criminal consequences for re-entry into the country) becomes the preferred option of U.S. immigration authorities.

Another colleague, Anna Law, who is a professor at CUNY Law, penned “Lies, damned lies, and Obama’s deportation statistics” only to be somehow caught up in the web of lies. She concludes in her well-written article that Obama has emphasized returns over removals even though the statistics from ICE and the NDN report tell us otherwise. Law also appears to be downplaying the harmful impact of “expedited removals” by pointing out that “two-thirds of Obama’s overall expulsion numbers consist of returns of people who have previous final orders of removal and who are recently arriving entrants.”

Surprisingly, nowhere in the article does Law analyze that many of these “recently arriving entrants” who have final orders to leave the country actually have family members in the United States, and that “expedited removal” tears apart American families without due process of law. Law does not even mention how the Administration has steadily given more people criminal convictions for mere entry and re-entry such that immigration convictions account for the largest portion of federal convictions. In effect, the Obama Administration is increasingly criminalizing immigrants–giving us criminal records, locking us up in detention centers, and deporting more people who have such minor criminal records.

In conclusion, Obama has presided over more actual removals than former President George W. Bush, criminalized immigrant communities to prioritize us for removal, and in total, the number of returns and removals under his Administration surpasses 2 million.

This is all beside the point. Numbers can be skewed in many ways, and we’ll continue to see both conservatives and liberals spin numbers for political reasons. But numbers don’t tell us the real stories of how people across the country continue to suffer the devastating impact of immigration enforcement. Numbers are impersonal–they do not tell of the violence and terror done to our communities. It does not matter whether Obama or Bush deported more people–what matters is that actual people are suffering due to harsh enforcement programs carried out by the Executive Branch ranging from Operation Streamline to Secure Communities to the Criminal Alien Removal Initiative.

The President can change this, but thus far, he has refused to act. And so we continue the hunger strikes on his lawn, carry on with shutting down ICE, and do what we must to put the pressure where it belongs.

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Filed under Immigration

“That Awkward Moment When You Run Away from Your Home Country Due to Discrimination For Being Queer, To Be Locked Up in the Land of the Free…”


Full text: “That awkward moment when you run away from your home country due to discrimination for being queer…Only to be locked up in the land of the free with a lot of machista, and sexist, homophobic, transphobic ICE officers.” – Alejandro Aldana

Yesterday, I received this bittersweet postcard from my dear friend, Alex Aldana, who is currently detained at the Otay Detention Facility in San Diego.

Alex lived with his family in California for ten years, where he graduated from high school and worked hard to make his community a better place. He left the U.S. to go back to Mexico five months ago to care for his sick grandmother.

Over these past few months, Alex discovered how crime and corruption made life particularly difficult for the LGBTQ community in Mexico. In Guadalajara alone, 128 gay and lesbian people have been killed, and none were reported as hate crimes. Now, Alex wants to return to California, where his mother and sibling reside so that he can continue to take care of them, and lead a life that does not entail the amount of violence he would face if he remained in Mexico.

Even with the heightened standard for credible fear instituted by the new Lafferty memo in light of the numerous claims for asylum from Mexico and Central America, Alex has already passed his credible fear interview. This means that according to Immigration and Customs officials, Alex has established a clear and convincing chance of winning asylum before an Immigration Judge based on his fear of persecution in Mexico. According to ICE guidelines, Alex should be released from detention to pursue his asylum case as he is neither a threat nor a flight risk. However, he has been detained at Otay for more than a month for no real reason, and subjected to abuse inside the facility. 

Sign the petition to demand that ICE release Alejandro (Alex) Aldana.

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Filed under Immigration, LGBTQ

President Obama Tortures Dreamers – Six of the DREAM 9 Are Now In Solitary Confinement


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Six of the Dream 9 are in solitary confinement at Eloy Detention Center as of Friday afternoon. At first, they refused food because of their restricted phone access, and now they are refusing food until they are released. The six in solitary confinement are Lizbeth Mateo, Claudia Amaro, Ceferino Santiago, Lulu Martinez, Marco Saavedra, and Mario Felix.

This is utterly despicable, alas routine practice in detention nowadays.

Solitary confinement is considered by many to amount to torture. UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez has reported that “considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause, it can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…” On many occasions, the solitary confinement of political activists in other countries has been considered grounds for asylum in the United States. Alas, this is how the U.S. treats our young civil rights leaders trying to seek refuge, humanitarian parole, and asylum in a country that is their home but considers them ‘illegal.’

Conditions at Eloy Detention Center are particularly horrific and ground zero for immigrant suicides. The Corrections Corporation-run detention center is under investigation already after Jorge Garcia-Mejia, 40, and Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzales, 24, were found hanging and lifeless in their cells earlier this year. John Ferron, a U.S. veteran and father of eight, who has suffered in prolonged mandatory detention at the Eloy Detention Center, went on a hunger-strike and was subject to force-feeding just this month. Our friends could suffer the same fate if they are not released soon.

ICE officials are probably taking these atrocious actions because they are petrified at the prospect of the undocumented youth leaders organizing inside the detention facility. Before they were placed in confinement, the DREAM 9 were able to interview and collect stories from at least 7 people who were also detained at Eloy, even though they had committed no crimes.

Thus far, we have heard nothing but silence from those who are part of the non-profit immigration reform complex. Even if you disagree with the tactics of our friends who risked their lives to effect change in a brutal immigration system, silence at this point is not just complacency. Silence is support for President Obama’s 1.7 million deportations and broken families. Silence is support for the detention of Dreamers trying to come home. Silence is support for torture.

It is perplexing why advocates are silent considering this is turning out to be a PR nightmare for the Obama Administration. You’d think they would use their all-access White House pass to tell the President to end this nightmare before every single immigration reform townhall for the month of August turns into a BRINGTHEMHOME event. Alas, they aren’t every bright — if they were smart, they wouldn’t be trying to pass the same bill for the past decade. There should be no doubt that we will take to the streets, storm offices, refuse to leave, get arrested, and detained ourselves, if our friends are tortured any longer.

And do not forget — this torture is your tax dollars at work, more than $11,000 to detain 9 peaceful activists for 5 days and counting.

Please keep calling your Representatives and ask them to sign on to the Rep. Honda letter requesting for parole for the #DREAM9. When you call, please let your Representative know that the Dreamers are being held in solitary confinement.

If you are part of an organization, consider signing on in support of bringing them home.

Here is a map of Solidarity actions for the DREAM 9.

Early next week, the officials will conduct “credible fear interviews” with the DREAM 9 to ascertain their fear of returning to Mexico. If officials turn them down, the DREAM 9 have the option to request review by an Immigration Judge (IJ). If they don’t seek review, ICE would remove them from the United States.

Time is of the essence.

“This is a movement about peoples’ lives. Now is not the time for silence.”

Media requests should be directed to media@theniya.org.



Filed under Immigration

Update: #DREAM9 Detained at Eloy Detention Center. Make The Call To #BringThemHome


In a radical, transnational action at the U.S.-Mexico border yesterday, 8 “dreamers” walked up to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and asked to be admitted to the United States.

The initial DREAM 8 grew to DREAM 9, when Rosie Rojas, formerly from Tucson, Arizona, joined the action and presented herself to CBP. She went back later but thirty other formerly deported dreamers showed up, asking to come back home. CBP did not know how to react.

The DREAM 9 requested humanitarian parole as formerly deported Dreamers who should never have been deported or forced to leave in the first place. CBP waited until late at night to take them to the Florence Detention Center.

Update: As of now the 9 are at Eloy Detention Center. Keep making those calls.

You’ve to wrap your head around this one — and not just the political ramifications.

Three undocumented youth leaders left the country WITHOUT a visa, WITHOUT any sort of advance parole.

They brought back SIX other undocumented persons who had left the country previously or had been deported.

They ALL entered LEGALLY.

And now, they will be organizing hundreds of other detainees at Florence Detention Center in Arizona, getting legal status for many others while we make the calls to ERO and ICE to let them out of detention.

Why did they take this radical action? “Millions of families like mine have been separated for far too long,” Lizbeth Mateo wrote in a blog piece published by The Huffington Post on Monday. “I waited 15 years to see my grandfather again, and to meet the rest of my family.”

Put simply, the fight to end deportations does not end after deportation. We would not need to take this bold step if the Obama Administration was not deporting and ripping apart families every second at more than 1000 deportations per day. We would not need to take these actions if people were free to see their families on both sides of the border. It is time to bring them all home — they deserve to be home!

How You Can Help

  1. Join the real immigrant rights movement in one of the solidarity events happening across the country in Boston, Massachusetts, Cincinnati, Ohio, Pomona, California, Chicago, Illinois, Asheville, North Carolina. More will be added in the coming days.
  2. Make calls and send emails to release the #DREAM9
  3. Sign petitions to bring home the other dreamers accompanying the trio:  AdrianaLuisMariaClaudiaCeferino.
  4. This entire effort has not been funded by anyone but the grassroots. Donate to help #DREAM9 pay for calls to and from their detention center. You can now also make a tax deductible donation online to NIYA.
  5. Call your Congressperson and ask them to sign on to a letter of support being circulated in support of the DREAM 9 now.

If you support immigrant rights, you support our individual and collective agency to make decisions for ourselves and take the action necessary to stand up and fight back when our communities are under attack on both sides of an arbitrary border.

The promise of immigration reform — is simply an empty promise. While we sit and wait for Congress to act, families are being separated every second by Obama’s mass deportation and detention policies.

Bringing them home is just a start. I see the campaign as a BOLD intervention into the pervasive duality and dichotomy of everyday discourses regarding immigrants and immigration reform. The transnational border action challenges the dichotomy created between us and them, between legal and illegal, between “dreamers” and our parents, between home and not-home, between a “path to citizenship” and rights for all. Disruption of the hegemonic narrative is not just necessary; it is emancipatory.

After the disruption, is when the real work begins of building bridges, which for me is not a shady compromise but a metaphor for fluidity, change, channeling, multiple levels of positioning that culminate into a meeting point: we’ve to stand up and fight back against punitive policies, secure our own communities, reunite our own families.


Filed under Immigration

NIYA Youth Infiltrate Broward Detention Center

Over the course of the last month, as the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, we have been working hard to infiltrate into select detention centers around the country to see what is really happening.

On June 17th, 2011, President Obama, through ICE director John Morton, issued a memorandum outlining his administration’s enforcement priorities. These priorities specifically called for the use of discretion in many low-priority deportation cases. Just like many other promises by this administration, our organizers inside of the detention center have discovered that the Obama Administration is still deporting the same people it promises not to deport.

Our organizers have seen first hand countless cases of:

— DREAM Act eligible youth;
— Individuals with no criminal record;
— Individuals clearly detained because of racial profiling tactics used by police and border patrol, including the detention of passengers in vehicles;
— Individuals with pending U visa / VAWA applications;
— Individuals with extreme medical conditions.

Therefore, we are asking for a full and complete review of each detainee at the Broward Detention center and that all low-priority detainees immediately be released and their cases administratively closed

You can sign the national petition here.



Felipe Garcia, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 13 years.On April 26, 2012, Felipe was detained dropping off his wheelchair bound son at school, after leaving the parking lot he was pulled over by an officer without any reason. The police officer called ICE on the spot and Felipe was taken directly to Broward. Felipe has never been in trouble with anyone.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/felipe/

Hugo Castro, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for 7 years. on June 21st the car Hugo was a passenger in was pulled over for running a yellow light and he was detained. Hugo has never been in trouble with anyone and is a complete low-priority deportation. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/hugo

Cesar Hidalgo, originally from Ecuador, has been living in Florida for over 20 years. Hidalgo is 52, he has two children, both green card holders, aged 30 and 25. Earlier this summer Hidalgo was detained by ICE after hotel security called police while he was passing out flyers. He has never been in trouble with anyone. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/hidalgo

Katealyli Paboje, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for 12 years. Katealyli was detained in early July, 2012, after she accepted a check as payment that had no funds. She had no idea the check would bounce, yet she was detained in jail for one night and ordered to do community service. She was soon thereafter detained by ICE.

Angel Raimundo, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida for 7 years.Angel was detained on May 11th for calling the police for help when he was being followed by two men. Not being able to speak english the police thought he was playing a prank on them. He has been detained since and has never been in trouble with anyone.

Leandro Cecilio, (A#205-014-4260) originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 15 years. Leandro has never been in trouble with the police, he was told he rolled a stop sign and so he was detained. He has been detained at Broward since June of 2012.

Daniel Castro, originally from the Dominican Republic, has been living in Florida for more than 10 years. Daniel has been detained for no reason other than profiling, he was waiting for the bus when ICE stopped and snatched him up.He has never been in trouble with the law.

Jose Luis Vasquez, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for over 8 years. Jose is another victim of being nothing more than a passenger in a vehicle. His friend was pulled over after their tail-light went out on the turn pike, all 4 passengers were detained by ICE. Jose has never had any trouble with anyone.

Guilbert Mosqueda, (A# 205-128-731) originally from Costa Rica, Guilbert has been living in Florida for 2 years. Guilbert was detained when his boss’ car was pulled over and, as a passenger, he was asked for identification. He’s been at Broward since July 5th!

Milton Perez, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida for over 5 years. Milton was detained on July 5th for apparently rolling a stop sign, the officer discovered he had no license. Milton has never been in trouble with the police, in fact he owns his own Mechanic shop. Milton has been detained since July 5th.

Jaime Pena, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 18 years. Jaime has never been in trouble with anyone, in fact he was detained for merely being a passenger in a car. Jaime does not know why the car was pulled over, the police officer wouldn’t give them a reason. Jaime has been detained since May of 2012.

Ever Gonzalez, originally from Guatemala, has lived in Florida ever since he was 15 years old. Ever is a DREAM Act eligible student, he has requested GED coursework while in detention. Ever was detained for driving without a license, he has been inside of Broward since July 1st, 2012, two weeks after President Obama issued the deferred action memo.

Marco Moss, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida since he was 15-years old. Marco is DREAM Act eligible, he had scheduled taking his GED two-months after he was detained. Marco has been detained since July 2nd for driving without a license.

Delman Matute, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida since he was 14-years old. Delman is DREAM Act eligible, yet he has been detained since July 12th, 2012. Delman was profiled while he was driving home from work at 2:00am. He was found to have no license.

Roberto Francisco, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida since he was 11-years old. Roberto was detained on June 16th on his way to church to sing in the choir. Roberto, DREAM Act eligible, was detained the day after President Obama promised to stop deporting DREAMers.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/roberto/

Hugo Armando Sanchez-Olvera, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for 15 years. Hugo is a DREAM Act student, he has been detained since January, 2012. Hugo was arrested once before for a DUI, however it does not make him in-eligible for the deferred action as laid out by president Obama.

Juan Carlos Amador, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida since he was 15 years old. Juan was pulled over in June of 2012 for not using his signals, he has been detained at Broward ever since. Juan is DREAM Act eligible.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/amador/

Hilario Vazquez, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for 11 years.Hilario wass detained in June of 2012 for nothing more than driving without a license. He has been detained since and has been forced to sign voluntary departure. Hilario has never been in trouble, not so much as a traffic ticket.

Antonio Molina Barradona, originally from El Salvador, has been living in Florida for 11 years. Antonio was detained on May 24th after the driver of the car he was riding in was involved in a minor accident. Antonio was only the passenger and yet he was still detained.

Hugo Mello, originally from Uruguay, has been living in Florida for 10-years. Hugo was profiled by ICE, he was randomly detained as he was leaving Home Depot.He has been detained at Broward since April of 2012.

Julio Pineda blanco, originally from Mexico, has lived in Florida for 7 years. On April 25th Julio was profiled and pulled over by an officer demanding to see his license. Julio has been at Broward ever since. A year ago Julio’s brother was killed in Mexico, he fears being deported and killed.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/blanco/

Mohammed Sooknanan, originally from Guyana, has been detained since December 6th, 2011, over 9 months! Mohammed has no criminal record, he was detained for driving with an expired tag. Mohammed’s marriage application is pending, he has never been deported before and is not a flight risk yet Judge Rex refuses to release him. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/mohammed/

Guillermo Hernandez, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for the past 10 years. Guillermo’s wife just gave birth to his 3-month pre-mature child who is now suffering serious heart problems. Guillermo has no criminal record and needs to be released immediately.

Maria Leon, originally from Venezuela, has been living in Florida for over 5 years. Maria is married to a United States citizen, her marriage application has already been approved and her interview is supposed to be on Wednesday, July 25th, however ICE still refuses to release her. While living in Venezuela Maria worked as a flight attendant on the presidential plane, she worked for President Chavez.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/maria/
Juan Bonilla: originally from Honduras, has been living in the United States for 12 years now. Juan fled Honduras, at the threat of gangs, when he was just 16. Juan was detained on June 5th as he was moving from Arkansas to Florida to provide a better life for his wife and 1-year old son.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/bonilla/

Leobardo Benitez, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for 13 years. Leobardo was profiled on July 15th, he was pulled over without breaking a single law, the officer stated he knew Leobardo didn’t have a license. Leobardo was only 18 when he migrated to Florida. Despite a clean record he is set to be deported on August 6th. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/leobardo/

Miguel Angel Salinas, originally from El Salvador, has been living in Florida for 8 years. In 2010 Miguel was deported while driving to the store to buy medicine for his sick wife. Miguel returned to Florida to provide for his family, however in April of this year he was again detained after a police officer profiled him to find he didn’t have a license. Miguel’s son has become withdrawn and misses his father dearly. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/miguelangel

Felix Padilla, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for over 20 years. In 1994 Felix was deported through a work-raid but had to return to feed his family. In June of 2012 Felix’s brother, a public official in Honduras was murdered. If deported Felix worries he too will be killed. In June Felix was profiled and detained despite having a valid Maryland drivers license! Felix is the sole provider for his parents and sisters children in Honduras.http://action.dreamactivist.org/maryland/felix/

Omar Gaspar Ramirez, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida for over 12 years. Despite no criminal record Omar has spent the last 9-months in detention at Broward. In November Omar was profiled by local police and found to have no license. Omar’s 10-year old son suffers from Asthma and has hearing problems. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/omar/

Luis Villanueva, originally from Mexico, has been living in the United States for over 10 years. Luis has no criminal record and yet he has been detained inside of the detention center since before Thanksgiving (November 7th, 2011)! Luis is a day laborer, he was picked up in front of Home Depot without being given any warning or anything. Luis’ father was murdered and he is currently being sought out by the same people. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/luis/

Bernardo Beade, originally from Argentina, has been living in Florida for the past 12 years. Bernardo turned himself into ICE in March of 2012, however since he has learned he would qualify for a U-visa and is fighting his removal.

Samuel Lopez: originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 20 years. On July 10th, without reason, Samuel was pulled over by border patrol and sent to the detention center. Samuel’s legal options are limited as he had fallen prey to a notary public who had mis-handled his previous case. Samuel’s 3 kids miss him terribly.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/lopez/

Victor Hernandez: originally from El Salvador, has been living in Florida for 20 years. Victor came to the U.S. fleeing the war and in hopes of earning money to send back to his father who had been incapacitated. Victor filed for asylum, however had no idea he had been ordered removed. Victor has been detained since May 8th, 2011. His now 13-year old daughter is suffering from depression.

Samuel Soto, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for over 14 years. He has four children who miss him very much, all four of his kids are currently undergoing therapy because of their fathers detention. Samuel has only been pulled over for driving without a license. Samuel’s daughter, Eda, is having surgery on her left ear on August 8th. Samuel has been detained since May 16th, 2012. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/samuel/

Junior Harriot, originally from Jamaica, has been living in the United States for over 18 years. Junior was once deported in 2011. In 2001 Junior was shot in the back during an attempted robbery, the bullet is still lodged in his lumbar spine.Because of his injury and lack of medical attention in detention he now has a clot in his knee, he cannot feel his right knee as it is numb. Doctors at the detention center refuse to allow him a cane, stating ‘your leg needs exercise.’ Junior could die or become handicap for life any day now because of his injuries and lack of access to proper medical care.

Carlos Castaneda, originally from Columbia, has been living in the United States for over 12 years. On May 9th, 2012, while driving a U-haul truck with his families belongings, Carlos was pulled over for no apparent reason. It was ICE, they detained him for a prior removal order and he has been at Broward ever since. Carlos has no criminal record, in fact both his 16 and 22 year old daughters are undergoing therapy and need their father home.

Cesar Leon: originally from Venezuela has been living in Florida for over 13 years. Cesar has been detained since April 20th, 2012. Cesar has no criminal record, he was detained after his asylum case was rejected. ICE has already attempted to put Cesar on a plane once, his time is running out.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/cesar/

Alberto Rodriguez, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for the past 12 years. He moved to Florida after Hurricane Mitch devastated everything his family owned. Alberto was detained on April 10th because of a previous deportation order. Alberto has 9 grand kids who miss him dearly. Alberto fears being returned to Honduras as several members of his family have already been killed. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/alberto/

Maulilio Mendez, originally from Guatemala, has lived in Florida for the past 10 years. In February, on his way to church, Maulilio was the victim of a car accident, instead of receiving care he was arrested and has been detained since. Maulilio has 4 children and is about to miss the birth of his 5th child.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/maulilio/

Agustin Morales, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for the past 11 years. Agustin is married and has two United States citizen children. In 1996 he was ordered removed, however had to come back in order to provide for his family. Agustin has no criminal record and is not a priority for removal. He was detained in May of 2012 due to an attorney mis-handling his case.

Macario Gonzalez, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for 11 years. Macario has a previous DUI from 2002 that has been taken care of, he is otherwise clean. In December of 2011, 9 months ago, Macario was profiled by a police officer who continually changed the reason for pulling him over. At the end he found Macario had no license and detained him. Macario has 7 children who desperately need their father back.

Maximino Hoz: originally from Mexico, has been living in Flordia for over 19 years. He has 6 children who miss him and want him home. Maximino’s 9-year old son has been diagnosed with depression because of his dad’s detention since December of 2011, over 9 months ago! In 2003 Maximino was charged with a DUI, however he took care of it, paid all of his fines and has never been in trouble since. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/max/ >

Aurelio Rufino Rangel, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 22 years. On May 20th Aurelio was detained dropping a friend off at home, he was charged with a DUI. Aurelio suffers from Diabetes and Gualt and has had fainting spells in detention. Aurelio’s wife needs him home, she suffers from Diabetes, Arthritis in both hands, and is losing sight in her right eye, to the point where she has not been able to take her insulin shots for 2 1/2 months, since Aurelio was detained.

Benjamin Aguilar, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florid for over 16 years. Benjamin made the mistake of walking outside of his home and was taken as ‘collateral’ by ICE agents looking for someone else. He was taken as ‘collateral’. Over 15 years ago Benjamin was charged with shoplifting. Benjamin has 6 children who need him and desperately miss him.

Isidro Saldana, originally from Mexico, has lived in Florida for 12 years. Isidro had a DUI charge from a decade ago, otherwise a clean record. On November 11, 2011, he and three friends were profiled and pulled over. All four were detained and sent to Broward. Isidro has been detained for over 8 months!

Florencio Cruz, originally from El Salvador, has been living in Florid since he was 12 years old. Florencio is a DREAM Act eligible student, he has request GED coursework in detention. In 2008 Florencio was charged with a DUI, however he has taken care of that and is otherwise clean. Florencio has been detained at Broward since June 15th, the day President Obama issued his memo on deferred action for DREAMers.

Pascual Pedro Marcos, orginally from Guatemala, Pascual has been living in Florida for over 18 years, since he was just 19 years old. In 2009 Pascual was charged with DUI, however he took care of it and has an otherwise clean record. He now has two US citizen children, ages 7 and 2. Pascual’s 2-year-old son, Steven, was born with serious developmental issues. Steven has the developmental skills of a 3 month-old, and must wear a special helmet twenty-three hours a day to help shape his little head. He can only take off the helmet for bathing and for therapy purposes. Judge Rex Ford has twice denied Pascual’s bond stating he is a ‘danger to the community.’http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/pascual

Sergio de la Cruz, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 18 years. Sergio has two United States citizen children and a wife who miss him dearly. His oldest daughter is having some health problems and needs her father by her side. Sergio was profiled and found to have no license. In 2009 Sergio was charged with a DUI, however he paid his fines and took care of it.

Rogelio Rivera, originally from Mexico, has been living in the United States for the past 10 years. Rogelio has a previous DUI that he has taken care of, he was detained after a police officer profiled him by pulling him over for without reason. Once the officer discovered he had no license he was detained and taken to Broward. He is currently fighting his deportation on appeal.

PENDING U / T OR VAWA APPLICATION Laura Escobar, originally from Honduras, has been living in the United States for over 12 years. Escobar is charged with ‘Obstructing Justice’, however the police officer who charged her is currently being investigated by anti-corruption officers as he beat her. Laura is a victim!

Gelmino Turra, originally from Uruguay, has been living in Florida for over 13 years. In 2002 Gelmino was nearly murdered. He has since filed for a U-visa, given to victims of serious crimes, however Judge Rex Ford refuses to release him. Gelmino has been detained since December 19th, 2012. Gelmino’s 7-year old son has threatened suicide over his dad’s detention.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/gelmino/

Luis de la Cruz, originally from the Dominican Republic, has been living in Florida for more than 10-years. Luis was profiled by a police officer, randomly pulled over to find he didn’t have a license. Luis has an active U-visa case and yet he’s been detained since April 5th, 2012!

Maurino Callejas, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 10 years. Maurino is currently applying for a U-visa due to some abuse he faced growing up, according to ICE anyone with a pending U-visa case is not a priority for detention. Maurino has been detained since June 1st, 2012.

Santos Gonzalez, originally from Honduras, Santos has been living in Florida for the past 8 years. Santos was detained in March of 2012 after having been fighting his deportation from when he first entered the United States. Santos has filed for a U-visa and it is pending, however ICE refuses to release him.

Bismarck Mejia, originally from the Dominican Republic, has been living in the United States for over 13 years. He has a loving wife and child in Pennsylvania where he was a successful business owner. In 2011 Bismarck was detained and deported after driving without his headlights on. He has since returned and has a pending VAWA application. According to ICE those with pending applications should not be detained. Let Bismarck go.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/bismarck/

Pablicio and Regis, both from Brazil. Pablicia a DREAM Act eligible student was once deported in February of 2012 for driving without a license. Now both Pablicio and Regis are fighting to stay despite both being material witnesses in a human trafficking case. Both have a T-visa pending. ICE attempted to Deport Pablicio on July 16th.

Juan Carlos: originally from Mexico Juan had been living in the U.S. for over 20 years. He was detained at home when ICE came looking for a different person who no longer lived at that address. Juan was the sole provider for his family, not only taking care of his long-time girlfriend but also providing for his 3 siblings.After 6-months in detention and $30,000 in profit for the GEO detention group Juan was deported on Tuesday, July 24th.

Sofronio Garcia, originally from Mexico, had been living in Florida since he was 14. Sofronio was DREAM Act eligible, yet he was deported on July 27th, 2012.Sofronio contacted the Public Advocate’s office as instructed by the Obama administration’s deferred action policy, yet he was still deported.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/sofronio

Virigilio Caranza, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 10 years. In January of 2012 Virigilio was detained by ICE while doing community service for a driving without a license charge. On July 24th Virigilio was deported. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/virigilio

Jose Castro: originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for the past 10 years. Jose was detained on the 4th of July on his way to church, he was just pulled over by Border Patrol without reason and taken directly to the Broward Detention Center. Jose’s brother, a gang member in Honduras, has already kidnapped his own father and has made death threats against Jose. Jose fears for his life if deported! Jose was deported on July 23rd, 2012.

Miguel Angel Amparo, originally from the Dominican Republic, has lived in Florida for over 10 years. On July 24th Miguel was deported. Miguel had no criminal record and in fact qualified for a U visa. Miguel was initially detained on his way to the store to pick up medicine for his wife.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/miguel

Miguel Rodriguez, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for over 11 years. Miguel had an outstanding deportation order that led to his detention in March of 2012. Miguel has no criminal record and is otherwise eligible for low-priority status. Miguel was deported on July 30th, 2012.


Arlondo Felix Perez, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida for over 10 years. Arlondo was profiled and found to be driving without a license, he had been detained since May 9th. On July 27th Arlondo was released from the Broward detention center and is reunited with wife and 4 kids!http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/arlondo/

Luis Cardona, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for the past 6 years. On July 6th Luis was detained on his way to work, he was profiled and found to have no license. Luis has a month old child he has hardly seen, his partner of 5 years is struggling to make ends meet. Luis has no criminal record.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/cardona

Charles Rodriguez, originally from Nicaragua, has been living in Florida for over 15 years. Charles has no criminal record, he’s been detained since May 9th, 2012. On July 25th Charles was released with a $5,000 bond!http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/charles/

Marcial Bautista-Paz, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida since he was 14 years old. In February Marcial was detained for being in a park after hours. Despite being DREAM Act eligilbe Marcial was detained for a month and a half after Obama’s deferred action memo was issued. Marcial was released on July 27th. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/marcial/


Juan Solis Vazquez, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida since he was 14-years old. Juan is DREAM Act eligible, he has requested GED coursework in detention. Juan’s only record is a charge of petty theft, not something that makes him ineligible for discretion as laid out by President Obama. Juan’s Stay of Removal was rejected on July 25th.

Jose Matute and Roger Anael, originally from Honduras, both lived in Florida or 10 years. On June 23rd Jose and Roger were detained at the airport while waiting for their sister-in-law. Apparently they ‘looked suspicious.’ After having spent a month in detention both were finally released.

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Spending X-Mas in Detention

Carl contacted DreamActivist through our contact form to share the story of his legal immigrant friend who was in detention. His point was that the system isn’t just broken for undocumented immigrants here but even for those who try to play by the rules and still end up getting burned.

I have cross-posted his story at Change.org and Promigrant.org and sent him an intake form, which he will fill with the help of his friend in detention. I also admire Carl for realizing the business of immigrant detention in his few encounters with the system. We hope to have his friend out soon.

I am a citizen of the United States and I have a friend that is from Paris, France here on a student visa to finish his degree. Noureddine Feddane has been here since 2005. His visa is valid until March of 2010, his passport is valid until 2014, and his I-20 is current. He is not what people call an ‘illegal immigrant.’ In 2008, he fell in love and married a U.S. citizen that just happens to be addicted to prescription medications. Noureddine knew nothing about this. But he was arrested due to her mistakes.

He was placed in detention and scheduled for deportation. My friend has been in detention center in Pompano Beach Florida for 5 months now. This couple has lost all there savings on lawyers, she lost her job, and they are in the process of losing their home. All this was caused because ICE has the wrong person in jail.

I have written many letters to Janet Napolitano, Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Ginny Brown-Waite and even President Obama. But no one will listen. What is illegal in this case is the way DHS is treating this guy, who is 51 and has never had a traffic violation.  While in detention center, they have abused him, denied him food and proper medical treatment. Noureddine is diabetic and they will not give him the proper food or medical attention. The phone system is very poor and hardly works. I suspect that they plan it that way so the detainees cannot contact their lawyers and family. I fear he will be next on the long list of persons that have died while in detention.

Until you go to one of these detention centers and see with your own eyes, you will not believe what America is doing. I was shocked, on my first visit and after almost 6 months of seeing what happens and how they have to live, I am still in shock. It is all about the money. My friend has never cost America anything until they locked him up. He is in a private prison owned by a company called GEO based near Miami, Florida. They are paid very well by our tax dollars, but the treatment is unbelievable. I wonder how many politicians have stock in this company. They are doing quite well even in a bad economy.

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