Yestel is free! His release is proof that freedom and civil rights are won through community organizing and resistance.
Yestel was a customer at an autoshop in New Orleans when he was detained by ICE during a workplace raid. He was scheduled to be deported last Friday, but thanks to the response from the community he was granted a one-year stay of removal by ICE, while the investigation of the racial profiling-based raids he helped expose continues.
This victory was difficult and bitterwseet. We had to mobilize thousands of community members and sought the support of dozens of local and national organizations. During this fight, Wilmer Irias-Palma, also arrested in the raid and who also has been part of the civil rights and racial profiling organizing, was deported last Friday.
All of this gives us the energy to redouble our efforts to end the raids and to win a strong new policy that protects defenders of civil and labor rights as part of a broad administrative reform. If we want to have civil rights, it requires we defend them with organized communities.