Edgar Godoy-Valladares has lived in the United States for over 13 years and is the proud father of 3 US citizen children. On November 9, 2013 Edgar and his wife had a domestic dispute and the Kenner Police Department arrived on the scene, without an interpreter. While police originally arrested and cited Edgar with domestic violence, the District Attorney’s office has reduced the charge given the facts of the case and troubling police conduct.
Edgar is planning to contest the charge, with his family’s support, however, he was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and could be deported before he has a chance to do so. The District Attorney’s office asked for a continuance in the trial because they were not prepared to go forward, and the matter has been reset for May 2014. However, he could be deported as any day.
Immigration is also holding Edgar because he has tattoos on his body. These tattoos represent Edgar’s favorite music groups and honor his loved ones, but ICE is interpreting them as potential signifiers of being in a gang. The interpretation of these tattoos by ICE is troublesome, erroneous, and stigmatizing. Edgar has requested ICE to release the tattoos to his family and advocates so that they can be reviewed by an independent expert, but ICE has responded that they should file a Freedom of Information Act, which could come through months after Edgar has been deported.
Since Edgar and his family began to fight his deportation publicly, we have stopped him from getting on a plane 3 times, thanks to support from people like you and his community. ICE told Edgar and his family that they needed to file a complicated motion in limited time. We have complied and filed all the motions and requests that ICE has indicated are necessary to evaluate his case. Edgar’s case has also been given to White House staff for review, as well as to close advisors to DHS Secretary Johnson.
Yet ICE has refused to let him go and insists in keeping him in detention and under threat of imminent deportation. Tell ICE that there are no more excuses. Edgar needs to be released and his deportation should be stopped.
To: Michael W. Meade, Acting Director, New Orleans ICE Field Office
I write to you on in support of Mr. Edgar Godoy Valladares (A# 095-608-614) who is currently detained at the South Louisiana Correctional Center. It has come to my attention that Mr. Godoy Valladares’ right to due process is being violated by the actions that your office has taken. First, his removal will be taking place before Mr. Godoy Valladares has a right to defend himself in court on a pending case. Second, he is being denied the right to defend himself, by your office’s refusal to release photographs of Mr. Godoy Valladares’ tattoos in a timely manner before he is deported, so that they can be analyzed by an independent expert. I urge you to use your prosecutorial discretion to grant him a stay of removal so that he can appropriately defend himself against the criminal charges in his upcoming court, and that you release the photographs to Mr. Godoy Valladares’s family and advocates.
Mr. Godoy Valladares is facing misdemeanor charges of domestic battery. In this matter, he is being represented by an attorney, and firmly believes that they charges step from erroneous interpretation at the cite of the incident. Mr. Godoy-Valladares is planning to contest the charge, with his family’s support. His court is scheduled for May 2014. If he remains in ICE custody or is deported on an order from 2003, he will not be able to defend his innocence, violating his due process rights, nor reunite with his U.S. citizen children.
In addition, I understand that ICE is currently determining whether Mr. Godoy Valladares has tattoos on his body that identify him as a member of a gang or international crime. Mr. Godoy Valladares has explained that those tattoos are personal, and relate to his loved ones and taste in music, and has requested that they be analyzed by an independent expert.
Lastly, there are factors which warrant use of prosecutorial discretion in Mr. Godoy Valladares’ case. Mr. Godoy Valladares and his partner, Yoselyn Madrid have been in astable loving relationship since 2000. Together they are dedicated parents to three children, ages 5 to 11. Mr. Godoy Valladares is a dedicated father of three US citizen children who have suffered greatly in his absence. All three children receive medical care. Mr. Godoy Valladares’ partner, Ms. Madrid, also has significant health problems, including a history of congenital bilary cysts. Due to her health she is unable to work, with the financial responsibility for his family on Mr. Godoy Valladares. Mr. Godoy Valladares is an asset to his community. He has lived in the Untied States for more than 13 years, and has no criminal convictions. I am urging you to use your power to use prosecutorial discretion so that Mr. Godoy Valladares could be released and his deportation stopped.
I am aware that Mr. Godoy Valladares was granted voluntary departure by an immigration judge in 2003. For the past 10 years he has been a hard-working family man who has contributed to his community and been a model neighbor in New Orleans. His deportation could cause tremendous hardship to his US citizen children for whom he is the only financial support. For these reasons I urge you to consider Mr. Godoy Vallares’ request for a stay of deportation and for his release from detention.
Please send an e-mail to the New Orleans ICE office asking them to use discretion to release Edgar from detention and stop his deportation.
Categories: Lost Cases
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As the immigration debate continues, #Not1More enters the discussion from the place that touches people in concrete ways and can offer tangible relief. By collectively challenging unfair deportations and unjust policy through organizing, art, legislation, and action, we aim to reverse criminalization, build migrant power, and create immigration policies based on principles of inclusion.
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