To all my family, friends, supportive organization, I thank them all for their support in helping to make possible my release from the detention center in Newark. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
This is something I will never forget. It was horrible to be placed in a bigoted institution for a mistake when I was a teenager. While I know laws and policies need to be respected, this was unjust punishment. But I never stopped asking God for an opportunity to start again. I asked the Virgin of Guadalupe to hear my prayers and those of my family and friends.
The day that officials of ICE told me that I had been released I was so grateful. Although, I got the news early Friday morning at 11:00 am and they would release later that evening, I certainly did not mind. While the time to wait seemed eternal, it was just a few hours and I had already waited 26 days.
The moment I was out of the facility it was a relief to feel the breeze and rain that touched my face, and I fell on my knees gave thanks to God and the Virgin for everything. When I saw my family and friends waiting for me outside, it was wonderful to feel the hugs of those I love. I have always and loved my family and friends, but in there I learned to love them even more because all were fighting for me along with my husband to free me. From the day they separated us and my world stopped, Rinaldo never surrendered. From the moment we separated to the day I was released.
The fight does not end with my release, but it’s the first step that we won with the help of God, my husband, my mom and all of you. While being detained, I listened to the many stories of people who are in there and unfairly treated. I remain committed to help out others until justice is done to those who were left behind. As their only crime were that they enter this great country to help their loved ones and for a better way of life.
I also want to thank everyone that helped make calls, participated in rallies, signed petitions, shared my story especially Christian NJ Communities United, Roberto Vaca and Jorge Torres de Unidad Latina en Accion , Jarrod Cruz- Lambda Theta Phi Stipsits – Latin Fraternity, Not1More Deportation , Leslie Tejada Office of the Senador Corey Booker, Immigration Equality , Human Rights Campaign and Choforitos organizations including United, Mexican American Progress Movement, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
Mario had been in immigration detention after he was taken into custody while interviewing to change his status. Him and his husband had recently married in New York, and hoped that they could help Mario’s situation. On May 9th, mario was released from detention and granted a 6-month stay of removal to give him time to change his status. Read more about his story at Mario’s old petition here: http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/portfolio/mario/. And please support other LGBT immigrants in detention here.