Protestors Shut Down Entrance to Suffolk Detention Center, Call on President Obama to Stop Deportations
Boston, MA – Immigrant activists and religious leaders from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont have formed a human chain at the entrance of the Suffolk Detention Center in Boston to demand action from President Obama to end the suffering caused by deportation. The prison at 20 Bradston Street has been the site of an immigrant prisoner hunger strike in October 2013 and is currently embroiled in lawsuits protesting indefinite detention.
Those risking arrest include many directly impacted by deportation, including Alejandro Gonzalez, an undocumented man from Connecticut. “I participate in this civil disobedience during Holy Week to let those in high positions in the government know that we reject the laws that criminalize our people, only for not having a piece of paper,” says Gonzalez. “Although I know I face being deported too, eleven million people need us to act. For that reason, the word ‘fear’ is not in my vocabulary. On this holy day, we remember that we must make sacrifices to help our community.” Read more
While Jose Maria Islas Connecticut remains in immigration detention and could be deported at any moment, his family and community are rallying for him to stay, and his case is now championed by US Senator Chris Murphy and US Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Both Senators have sent a letter to ICE Director John Morton, urging him to stop the deportation of Mr. Jose Maria Islas, especially as Congress debates immigration reform. Below are the two letters:
Letter from Senator Murphy
Letter from Senator Blumenthal
[Read Senator’s Press Release regarding his support here]
May 28, 2013
The Honorable John Morton, Director United States Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement 500 12th Street, SW Washington, DC 20536
Dear Director Morton,
On April 18, 2013, I wrote to you regarding the case of Josemaria Islas (A 205 497 397; DOB: February 2, 1978). In that letter, I expressed concern regarding Mr. Islas’s scheduled deportation, particularly in light of possible legislation that might allow him to remain in this country. Since my letter, the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would almost certainly allow Mr. Islas to have his deportation order revoked. See S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, sec. 2101 (providing for immigrants subject to a final removal order to receive registered provisional immigrant status and terminate the removal order).
As a member of the Judiciary Committee who took an active role in shaping S. 744, I was pleased that the committee approved legislation to retain provisions that would protect immigrants like Mr. Islas. Further, the Board of Immigration Appeals continues to wrestle with the question of whether the deportation of an immigrant with Mr. Islas’s history violates the Eighth Amendment’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment and Fifth Amendment due process rights.
The legal basis for deporting Mr. Islas has been questioned by Congress and challenged in the courts. More fundamentally, Mr. Islas has no criminal record, and there is no evidence that he poses any threat to his neighbors in the United States. Rather, Mr. Islas’s history indicates that if he is allowed to remain in the country he calls home he will use that opportunity to continue contributing to the community that he has embraced and that has embraced him. I understand and respect the difficult and important tasks that ICE faces, but I cannot understand how deporting Mr. Islas would be the best use of ICE’s resources or best serve the intent of the law.
I urge you to grant Mr. Islas a stay of deportation until the Board of Immigration Appeals has a chance to rule on the constitutional question raised by his case, and until Congress has the opportunity to decide whether deporting immigrants like Mr. Islas is in the best interests of the United States. Deporting Mr. Islas or others like him while the legal basis for their deportation may yet be eliminated would be wasteful, unfair, and unduly harsh. Thank you again for your consideration. If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact Sam Simon at 202-224-2823.
Richard Blumenthal United States Senator
Even with the support of these two Senators, Director John Morton continues to refuse to let Jose Maria out of detention or to close his deportation case. Please consider supporting Jose Maria and his family, by signing his petition and calling ICE.
In meeting with family of Jose Maria Islas, a Connecticut man facing deportation after a case of mistaken identity, Sen. Murphy described the removal of people who could qualify for reform that could be passed soon as particularly insane.
Sign the Petition for Jose Maria Islas at http://bit.ly/IslasFree
Jose Maria Islas of New Haven caught a break this week, at least for a while, in his desire to keep from being deported to his native Mexico by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
His lawyer, Danielle Briand, thinks that since ICE is considering their request for a stay of removal, Islas ultimately will be given the stay and allowed to remain in the United States.
If Islas is not deported, it will mean he can work at a job that is low-paying for most Americans but allows him to earn the money he needs to support his wife and son in their village in the Mexican state of Puebla.
Islas’ case has gotten high visibility because of the support he’s received from our U.S. senators and representative, as well as from many in the community who have made their voices heard on his behalf.
We hope ICE will use its discretion and grant Islas an indefinite stay, as he has requested, for two reasons.
First, Congress is in the midst of debating immigration reform. The result could directly affect the ability of immigrants like Islas to stay in the United States.
Second, it’s the humanitarian thing to do, for a man who has no criminal record (charges against him resulted from a case of mistaken identity and were erased), works hard and came here because he could not earn a living wage at home.
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NotOneMoreDeportation.com is a campaign made of individuals, organizations, artists, and allies to expose, confront, and overcome unjust immigration laws.
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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