Today brings a last minute, desperate call for help in a humanitarian cause. This hits very close to home!
Last night, I was—in concert with a congregation of other dedicated and hardworking people—able to get a Salvadoran gentleman named Roberto released from the Adelanto Detention facility. All this just so that he could have a chance to have his case heard through the rigorous legal process—given his day in court—before being indiscriminately deported back to the atrocious situation he had escaped from…
I had a chance to spend some time with Roberto upon release. A warm human being. A very nice man with needs—like us all. It was so exhilarating to see the face of freedom. He was so grateful. It brought tears to everyone’s eyes.
However, he is just one victim of an unjust, uncaring juggernaut system of deportation.
This process of getting someone released is costly and time consuming: bail, lawyers, immediate necessities and—in many cases—the cost of an ankle monitor. Today, we face a similar—even more pressing—situation; we are in dire straits and I need your help!
Today, funds (approx. $1,500.00) are desperately needed to help get legal aid fees for a gentleman by the name of Jean. He must get a petition filed today to halt his imminent deportation. Jean was surreptitiously moved by the ICE operation from Adelanto to Arizona and faces deportation as of this time. The clock is ticking, and legal aid of this nature is costly.
Can you help? Can you help us raise $1,500.00 for legal fees—TODAY? If you can help, please PM me. We will be forever grateful for your help!
After calling many lawyers, there was a common denominator: Jean’s case is a $15K – 20K case. We finally found one who agreed to accept whatever we fundraise. So far, I’ve had pledges for $650 + a check for $1,000 from a very generous donor whose original intent was for the funds to be used for bail bond but agreed to allow me to use it for legal fees, if needed. The CLUEJustice Adelanto Fundraiser is for bail bond money only. We do not touch that for legal feels. That is why I asked for people interested in helping me to PM me. My intent is to collect the money and forward it to Jamima, who is dealing with the lawyer.
The lawyer, Romben Aquino, has filed a temporary stay of removal, then he has 14 days to supplement the filing materials – which is a lot of work, but doable. We don’t know if Jean will return to Adelanto. If he returns to Adelanto, and since his bail bond was nullified, he will have to petition for another bail bond hearing and it will be up to the judge to honor the previous bond or increase it. In other words, we may be back to square one. In fact, Jean can be transferred to any Detention Facility in the country. While in AZ, he found out his bail bond had been cancelled and he proceeded to ask us to stop all efforts to prevent his deportation. He faces DEATH, friends, if he returns to Haiti. His mother died eight days after a beating intended for him – he was not at home when men showed up at his home so they beat up his mom. We could not not mobilize, hence my urgent appeal for legal fees money.
Roberto is just a sweetheart. He’s been spending the days with me and nights at E.’s. He’s not sleeping well. I truly believe he’s suffering from PTSD. It seems our beautiful desert triggers the many memories he has from his difficult journey to the U.S. Today was the first day we chatted without either one crying.
From all the hunger strikers I’ve met, as they share their stories, there’s always something that breaks my heart and sort of haunts me. Roberto told me about the night before they crossed the border. He said, “We built a fire – fully aware that border patrol might find us or coyotes would come and try to eat us. We did not care. We were tired and hungry. It was snowing hard and we were cold. The fire would at least keep us warm until God decided our destiny.”
Today he was successful in contacting some friends he met at Adelanto who promised to help him. Things have not been completely sorted yet and I don’t know how long he will be in our area. He may end up in Ventura, Long Beach, or San Diego. He met an American writer in Mexico who also expressed interest in helping him if he made it here. He connected with her but she lives in Oregon. For the time being, he will remain with E. and me.
Roberto and I went to Palm Springs today to eat pupusas (a Salvadoran dish). E. never had any so I bought some for him and Liz. When we got back, E. was in his studio, painting. He has a beautiful painting with children’s hand prints on the bottom. E. told Roberto that he wants him to forge the kind of life that will allow him to bring his daughter to the US so she can put her hand prints on E.’s painting. Then he offered his place for Roberto and his fiancee to wed. E.’s generosity and compassion humbles me and lifts my heart. Roberto’s story fuels my desire to do as much as I can for all our migrant brothers and sisters who are willing to risk everything – e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
La Lucha Sigue.