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ICE detainee passes away at Conroe Regional Medical Center in HoustonHOUSTON — 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 #
Astor’s family and friends need him back home! Let’s get him back for the holidays! People make mistakes, it doesn’t mean they should be deported for it.
SIGN the petition at http://bit.ly/AstorEND. Do it!
Call ICE at 202-732-3000 and tell them this:
Sample Script: “Hi, I was calling to ask that ICE release Astor Romario Mejia Rodriguez (A# 098-596-657). Astor fled Honduras when he was just 11 years old after his uncle was murdered and the people who committed the crime threatened to kill Astor too. He is currently a DREAMer in the 10th grade. Please stop the deportation of Astor now.”
Over the next few days, expect to see more posts about a Charlotte-area man fighting his deportation. Despite official claims that ‘low priority’ undocumented folks would not be caught up in the deportation dragnet, Javier Santos is still having to face all of this- over a broken license plate light. For those of you who haven’t already seen this:
Please, take a moment from your day- seriously, a couple of minutes at most- to sign Javier’s petition and make a phone call to help reunite Javier with his wife and
two three children. Sadly, because of his continuing detention, ICE wouldn’t let Javier be there for the birth of their third child.
Each day matters- keep making calls and watch this space for more ways to help Javier.
What would you do if your brother or sister were facing deportation? Would you stand with them? Would you encourage them to fight it? The following essay was written by Angelica Velazquillo, the sister of Erick Velazquillo, who is currently in deportation proceedings. His next court date is July 19, and we need you to sign this petition to keep him home.
By Angelica Velazquillo
I have kept a low profile for years. I have felt ashamed, frustrated, and limited by a secret I have only shared with a few close friends and faculty- I am undocumented. This has caused me and my family fear of being judged, criminalized, and deported.
The weight of this secret has become unbearable, as anti-immigrant legislation has increased throughout the country. This fear became a reality when on October 11, 2010 my brother was pulled over for having his high beams on. I remember the fear on my mother’s face because we both knew what this could mean for my brother and my family.
It was a nightmare coming from the police department to my brother’s empty room, knowing he was spending the night in a jail cell. This was the first of three sleepless nights I spent wondering when I would see my brother again, and praying he would not be transferred to a detention center in Georgia.
While I have lived with fear most of my life it was not until the evening of June 9th that I realized how debilitating it was to succumb to fear. I was at the Bank of America Stadium where Costa Rica was playing soccer against El Salvador, and soon after Mexico would be playing against Cuba. I approached a lady and asked her if she would sign my brother’s petition to stop his deportation. For a fleeting moment there was panic and fear on her face.
This was the moment I realized that if I gave in to fear nothing would change. If I did not speak out against what was happening to my brother, my family, and other fellow immigrants, our struggle would be ignored. Silence would be an agreement, an approval of the injustices being committed against youth, like my brother, who would qualify for and benefit from the Dream Act passing. These young adults are being treated as criminals for a decision they did not make.
The fear that I allowed to rule me began to dissipate. I would no longer remain silent. I would no longer encourage my brother to take a voluntary departure. It was time to share our story; it was time to speak out, to break the shackles of fear we allowed to enslave us. Only with courage will we have an opportunity to help our community, to ask for accountability, and to point out the discrepancy between politicians’ words and the actions of local governments against undocumented youth.
This is why I am coming out- to share my brother’s story, to share my story, and to be a voice who encourages others to come out of the shadows.
Are you in Charlotte, NC and want to get involved? Are you undocumented and tired of being afraid? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you get started.
José Rico (919) 802-0508
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cowards in the General Assembly Propose Bill Attacking Children
NC DREAM Team vows to stop the attacks on undocumented youth
RALEIGH, NC—Although not a single “restrictionist” bill in the General Assembly has addressed the biggest employers of undocumented immigrants in the state—state farms—several bills have attacked school children and college students. By proposing HB 744, a bill that would force students to reveal their status to school officials, North Carolina legislators are telling undocumented immigrants working and living in our state that they are good enough to pick its residents’ food, but not good enough to sit next to them in class.
“Our communities are under attack,” said Viridiana Martinez, an undocumented immigrant who has been an active fighter for immigrant rights. “We will expose this nasty bill and everyone behind it.”
Anti-immigrant groups frequently lament the 1982 Supreme Court decision of Plyler V. Doe, which protects the right of undocumented students to attend public education through high school. However, legislators in the segregationist South have begun to find new ways to direct their prejudice at school children. The Alabama State Senate passed a bill that would ban undocumented immigrants from attending extracurricular activities like prom and afterschool sports. NC Republicans also refused to make an exception in the Matricula Consular bill, HB 33, for educators to accept the Matricula to identify the parents of children at the school, both citizen and non-citizen.
Earlier this month, US Department of Education had to remind school districts of their obligation to provide an equal education to undocumented immigrant children. The DOE released a letter (co-signed by the Department of Justice) stating that “Recently, we have become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, or students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. These practices contravene Federal law.”
Requiring children to register their immigration status with their schools will inevitably result in discrimination, harassment or exclusion. Plain and simple, the legislators who support these bills are unprincipled cowards.
Despite claims to the contrary, undocumented youth are still being deported. One of them is Elier Lara, an outstanding young man at the University of Cincinatti, who was picked up by ICE while accompanying his classmates on a school trip.
Last year, Elier was on a trip to New York with other students from his high school to compete at Nationals for Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE). After placing in the highly competitive field, garnering Honorable Mention and receiving the competition’s Innovation Award, Elier was singled out at the airport before his team boarded to fly back to Cincinnati. He had brought with him the only form of identification he owned—a school ID.
In front of his teammates and coach, he was arrested and forced into deportation proceedings. He is currently waiting anxiously for his court date to appear before the judge who will decide the future course of his young life. He and his family fear for his life if the judge allows DHS to proceed with his case. His family is originally from an area near the US border which has been decimated by drug cartel violence. His hometown recently experienced a civilian massacre and subsequent car bombings. Elier’s bright future literally hangs in the balance.