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I got this in my inbox yesterday:
 
ICE detainee passes away at Conroe Regional Medical Center in Houston
 
HOUSTON — A Honduran national, who has been in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since Nov. 5, 2012, passed away Friday at Conroe Regional Medical Center (CRMC) due to lymphoma and related complications.
 
Pablo Ortiz-Matamoros, 25, was transferred to ICE custody from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Nov. 5.  On Jan. 29, Ortiz-Matamoros was admitted to CRMC for jaundice, lethargy and weight loss. He passed away Feb. 8 at about 1p.m. (CST).
 
Ortiz-Matamoros’ next of kin was by his side at the time of his passing.
 
Consistent with ICE protocol, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have also been informed, along with consular officials from Honduras.
 
Ortiz-Matamoros is the second detainee to pass away in ICE custody in fiscal year 2013.
# ICE #
 
As I read and re-read, I don’t even know what to feel anymore…sad, angry, happy that Pablo, if even in death, finally gets relief from the hell he must have been in while in immigration custody. We often hear of detained people in desperate need of medical attention and just like in Pablo’s case, “consistent with ICE protocol”, too little, too late is done. A 25 year old is gone just like that. He was my age. Most likely he had a huge responsibility over his head to ensure survival for his family. Where are they left now? Who has a real answer for them when all that can be talked about, by advocates and the Obama administration, are talking points for a superficial immigration reform. Keep your script people.    
 
My thoughts go out to Pablo Ortiz-Matamoros’ family and loved ones. I can’t even begin to imagine the rage they must feel. 
 
In memory of Pablo, I’m signing these petitions and making the following calls. Hope you can join me.
 
Adrian is peeing blood and is in need of urgent surgery: 
http://action.dreamactivist.org/oklahoma/adrian/
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Flavio Ramos Cruz needs surgery: 
http://action.dreamactivist.org/northcarolina/flavio/
 
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Isaias Valles Castrejon’s family needs him. 
http://action.dreamactivist.org/northcarolina/isaias/
 
 
And more! 
Gregorio: http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/gregorio/
His children with medical needs need him now more than ever. 
 
Miguel Caldo: http://action.dreamactivist.org/dui/
No one deserves the pain and trauma of deportation.
 
 
 
 
 

Looks like our state’s new administration already started off on the wrong foot.

Nolicenses4illegalersLt. Governor Dan Forest

According to Lt. Governor Dan Forest, ”a person entering the United States illegally should not be afforded the privileges reserved for US citizens”. So, there you have it. Lt. Governor Dan Forest does not support DREAMers and our communities. Shame on him!

For all media inquiries, email viridiana@thencdreamteam.org or call Cinthia at (919) 985-5868.

RoyCooperNCDOJ

Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today that DACA holders do bear legal presence and are therefore entitled to obtain a driver license under North Carolina State law.

After public outcry and pressure from immigrant youth and our supporters, we will get our license back! We just got official notice from the office of Attorney General Roy Cooper:

“It is therefore our opinion that individuals who have been granted deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy directive are lawfully present in the United States during the period of deferment. As such, N.C. Gen. Stat. 20-7(s), which states that DMV shall issue a drivers license of limited duration to person who present valid documentation demonstrating deferment and meet all other statutory requirements, requires that such licenses be issued.”

This was problematic from the beginning as it is by North Carolina law that DACA holders can obtain a driver license. Let this be yet another example that when we stand up and fight back together, we can make clear demands to any government agency. We are our own voice! Somos nuestra propia voz! We are our own power! Nosotros tenemos el poder!

Now, we ask that this official statement from Attorney General Cooper be reflected in the NCDMV’s requirements to obtain a license immediately! 

SIGN THE PETITION HERE!

It’s been stated by the NC Department of Transportation, that licenses will no longer be given to those who are DACA eligible and has revoked those that have already gone out. But that doesn’t mean we should give up or that we are powerless to change what’s happening.

DMVFAIL

A march is being planned for this Tuesday, Jan. 22 at the North Carolina Department of Transportation, 1 S Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC. There’s a Facebook event with all the details. Click here to confirm your assistance or to send immigrant youth in NC a message of support! 

If you can’t make it, start an event in your city demanding this backwards policy be overturned. We’ve also created a petition with the numbers of those people who can make things right. Sign the petition, call as much as possible, and spread it widely.

Petition: http://bit.ly/licensenc

Attorney General Roy Cooper has the power to overturn this policy. In fact, the NCDOT is waiting for clarification from him that DACA holders do bear legal presence. Give him a  call and ask him to give us our licenses back!

MAKE A CALL: (919) 716-6400

Sample script: “Hi, I am calling to urge Attorney General Roy Cooper to reverse the backwards policy of denying driver’s licenses to recipients of deferred action. According to NC state law, all it takes to get a driver license is legal presence. Please reinstate the issuance of driver licenses to DACA holders now.”

In the meantime, the NC DMV has changed their requirements to obtain a license, specifically excluding DACA holders (code c33). This is senseless as it keeps immigrant youth from driving to the same jobs they’ve been authorized to work at. Make one last call!

NC Department of Transportation - (919) 707-2800

Sample script: “Hi, I’m calling to urge NC Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata to reverse the backwards policy of denying driver licenses to recipients of deferred action. They have been authorized to legally work, let them drive!”

Believe us when we say, this is only the beginning if things don’t change, and FAST. We’re not letting this go without a fight, and neither should you.

by Viridiana B. Martínez

I recently ran across the case of Stephanie Nickerson. She’s a 25-year old Black mujer who was beaten by a Durham Police officer. She was chillin at her friend’s house when the police showed up. Stephanie told her friend she didn’t have to open the door. The officers had no search warrant.

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Sign the Petition!

Things escalated. Before she knew it, Stephanie was being slammed to the ground, held by the neck, and punched in the face and head. Stephanie had just become a victim of police brutality.

Whatever your stance is on the level of authority law enforcement has, we can all agree that Officer Brian Schnee had no reason to even touch Stephanie. Stephanie’s friends and family and the Durham community are asking folks to sign the petition asking Durham Police Department to immediately drop all charges against Stephanie, suspend Officer Schnee while a full and independent investigation takes place, and file assault and battery charges against the Durham police officer.

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As an illegal immigrant mujer, I know too well the many ways in which local law enforcement abuses of its power. About six months ago, I met an illegal immigrant woman at Broward Detention Center by the name of Laura Cartagena (A# 078-922-847). Laura is detained at BTC after a Miami police officer entered her home, beat her down, and arrested her. Laura was visited by an investigator at Miami Police’s anti-corruption unit. He told Laura she had no charges, took photos of her bruises, and asked her why she is still being detained. Laura remains held at Broward Transitional Center where she could be deported any day despite being eligible for a U-Visa.

Sign Laura’s Petition here!

Both Stephanie and Laura are now dealing with the trauma of being beaten and completely stripped of their humanity. The consequences of what these two mujeres of color are dealing with may not be the same; justice for Laura has not even begun to happen as she’s still detained and faces deportation every single day. However, the common denominator in these cases is that both of these women, like many women of color, are the victims of a racist criminal system that funnels our communities into prisons and detention centers. You can shout and rejoice every single day because our president is black and blah blah blah. But what good is that if our communities are STILL criminalized?! What good is that if our communities are STILL marginalized?! What good is that if the officer who attacked Stephanie is still “protecting and serving” the Durham community and Laura is still facing deportation to a country where she could be killed?!

As the directly impacted by this broken system, we must unite and we must fight back.

MIGUEL

Miguel Tzitzios was being held at North Georgia Detention Center despite being a low priority case. So much for Obama keeping his promises. But with your help we were able to do it. Miguel was released from North Georgia TODAY, after almost 2 months in detention! Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, made the calls, and supported him in every way possible. This proves the power we have as a community! We will keep you updated on his case. Thanks again for taking action! 

His daughter Cristina Tzitzios sends this note:

Primero le quiero dar Gracias a Dios porque sin el nada de esto estaria pasando. Pero tambien le quiero dar gracias a todos los que nos apoyaron en esta dura jornada! Sin sus llamadas, sus firmas, y el apoyo esto no hubiera sucedido. Gracias NC DREAM TEAM, you guys are amazing and do great things for families like mine!! Porfin termino esta pesadilla y mi papi estara con nosotros esta noche! La fe es lo ultimo que se pierde! I love y’all!.”

Miguel was released from North Georgia Detention Center, the same state where several other families are being held.  Take Marisela’s case for example, ICE showed up at Marisela’s home in October asking for her cousin. She was taken into custody after providing her consular ID card and is now being held at Irwin Detention Center in Georgia. Marisela is a DREAMer and sole provider for her US citizen daughter.  President Obama has said he is not deporting DREAMers. So why is Marisela still detained?

So make sure to SIGN and SHARE the petition to release Marisela! Make sure to call ICE to tell them to release her immediately. Let’s bring Marisela home for Christmas!

On November 12th, Pablo was on his way back home from work when he backed into a car. Pablo drove off thinking no damage was done to the car he backed into but frightened because he doesn’t have a driver’s license. He can’t get one. He’s undocumented.

The police showed up at his apartment later that night looking for him. Pablo was arrested for No Operators License. He is currently sitting at Wake County Detention Center with an ICE hold.

According to the President Obama’s Morton Memo, Pablo meets the requirements for prosecutorial discretion. Pablo has been in the United States since 2005 and he has no criminal background. Why is he still detained with an ICE hold?

Act NOW!

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Call Wake County Detention Center at (919) 255-7111 and DC ICE at 202-732-3000!

Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to ask that ICE drop the hold on Pablo Caballero-Montoya (inmate #1043830). Pablo is committed to working hard so he can sustain his wife and children who are in college. He has nothing but a No Operators License charge. Please remove the ICE hold and release him immediately.” 

Baltazar Sanchez Acosta

Baltazar Sanchez Acosta
A#: 225-213-693
Detained since May 2012

Baltazar is a DREAMer who was being held at Stewart Detention Center despite being DACA eligible. So much for Obama keeping his promises. But with your help we were able to do it. Baltazar was released from Stewart on Tuesday afternoon, after 7 months! Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, made the calls, and supported him in every way possible. This proves the power we have as a community! We will keep you updated on his case. Thanks again for taking action!

 

Baltazar sends this note:

“Les quiero dar las gracias a todas las personas que me ayudaron de todo corazón muchas  gracias. Especialmente a Cinthia Marroquín por todo su apoyo durante el proceso. Les estaré muy agradecido por siempre sin su ayuda todo prácticamente hubiera sido mucho mas difícil! MUCHAS GRACIAS de parte de mi y mi familia.”

I would like to thank every single person from the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone that supported me. Especially to Cinthia Marroquin for all the support she gave us during the whole process. I will be forever grateful, because without y’alls help it could have been even more difficult. THANK YOU VERY MUCH on behalf of my self and my family.”

Baltazar was released from Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, the same state where several other families are being held.  Take Miguel’s case for example, Miguel was on his way to work when he was stopped by the police. He was pulled over for expired tags and when asked for ID provided his expired NC driver license. The officer proceeded to ask Miguel for a valid ID, saying that the expired license was not enough. So Miguel showed him his passport. The officer proceeded to arrest him and charged him with driving with an expired license and fraudulent ID? Yes, that is a question mark. Miguel has since then been transferred to North Georgia Detention Center where he has been held for nearly a month. According to John Morton’s memo from June 2011 this case is just as low-priority as Baltazar’s and Miguel should be released immediately.

Another Low Priority Deportation: 1 Year Old
Grandson Needs Miguel Home!

We are working really hard to bring attention to more low priority cases and hope you’ll help us by getting the word out. So make sure to SIGN and SHARE the petition to release Miguel! Make sure to call ICE to tell them to release him immediately. Let’s get him released!

by Cinthia Marroquin

In recent years, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has elevated their efforts to deport as many undocumented immigrants as possible.This agency of the federal government has been able to do so by switching their tactics. Moving away from the most common work place raids of previous years, people are now being funneled through the criminal justice system. This has empowered local law enforcement to focus their energy on identifying and detaining undocumented people. Thanks, Obama administration! 

Take Reyes case for example. On December 2011 Reyes borrowed his friend’s car to go to work. A police officer  checked his plate and saw that the owner of the vehicle had an expired license.  He proceeded to stop Reyes and asked him for his drivers license. The officer arrested Reyes after he was unable to provide a “proper” identification. Besides his two other no license tickets, Reyes has no criminal record. He is now in deportation proceedings. Despite being low priority under the Morton memo, Reyes has become a high priority for us. When we see a police officer driving alongside us, we should feel safe, not vulnerable.

Reyes Merlin Alfonsin (A# 200-678-149)

Reyes is originally from Mexico and came to the Unites States in 2005. Reyes like many immigrants who arrive here, came to seek opportunities that will position them where they hope their struggle will only be a memory and no longer their day to day reality. He has been living in North Carolina for almost 8 years and has built his life in this country. Returning back to Mexico is no option for him.
According to the memo issued by Jon Morton, Reyes case is considered a low priority and should be granted favorable prosecutorial discretion. If deported, Reyes will be separated from his wife and his two US citizen daughters. 
This is just one example of hundreds if not thousands of cases wherein minor traffic violations cause individuals to experience the nightmare of being separated from their family. Reyes life does not have to be uncertain, we as a community can help him and the many who are in similar situations. People should not be treated as less than human simply for trying to make a living and when they contribute to the vital life of a nation built on immigration.
HELP REYES STAY BY MAKING A CALL AND SIGNING HIS PETITION!

by Alicia Torres

Early this afternoon word started spreading that residents of western NC are in fear of driving because ICE was present in the area. By 1:30 pm word was out that at least 20 people had already been picked up. According to those in the local area, ICE is stopping people on the way out of Cashiers, near the Wal-Mart in Sylva, and in Dillsboro – even stopping people as they are walking. At the roadblocks, police are asking for everyone’s IDs not just the driver’s license of the driver, which is the norm.

This attack on the undocumented community of western NC can only lead us to conclude that we, the undocumented community, cannot expect any sort of relief from the current Obama administration. Furthermore, it should alert us all that we need to develop a vigilant eye for the spread of ICE activity in our state.

We must look out not just for ourselves but for each other. According to western NC residents, they had never before witnessed as much ICE activity as today. And my gut is telling me that such intense activity will only spread into other areas of North Carolina. After all, our state has always been a testing ground for Department of Homeland Security programs such as Secure Communities and 287-g.

The painful aftermath of being picked up or having a loved one picked up by ICE may be experienced by 20 or more families in Western NC today. Such open attacks on our undocumented community are clear efforts to intimidate and instill fear in our communities and sow future seeds of injustice.

But WE, the undocumented community, should not back down from this attack; instead I invite you to fight back! Let’s fight back for ourselves, our families, and our right to a life free of fear of ICE and police intimidation. Let’s fight back against the injustices that seem to always accompany the presence of ICE in our communities.

I invite you to take pictures, to record (via phone or whatever medium), to write, and, above all, to make public whatever ICE is doing in your community. We have to be proactive in the change that we want to see. We have to hold Obama accountable for his attack on our undocumented communities. But we have to do it together, and everyone has to play their part.

Again, I ask you to keep a vigilant eye out for ICE activity and any possible injustice and publicize them.  And you can also always contact us, NC DREAM Team.

image by Steve Pavey

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