Release for Roberto: Update on the Adelanto Hunger Strikers


After being detained for 13 months in Adelanto Detention Center, Roberto, a political refugee and one of the hunger strikers, finally had his bail bond reduced from $20,000 to $3,000 by an Immigration Judge. Undocumedia, an L.A. based company owned by DREAMer Ivan Ceja and a generous organization, Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee from El Paso, TX – Cd. Juarez, MX, quickly mobilized and raised the funds to free Roberto.

Immigration Issues Team Leader, Yolanda, drove Roberto to his new home on Tuesday. She reports Roberto is adjusting well and he anxiously awaits the outcome of his pending refugee status and getting his work permit. He is very grateful for everyone’s generous donations – bail bond money, housing, clothes, shoes, toiletries, and a bicycle (courtesy of the Morongo Basin Democratic Club). He states: “I may never have a chance to thank them in person but they will always be in my heart and I will keep them in my daily prayers.”

Yolanda also reports that Jean‘s case is moving along. His lawyer, Mr. Aquino, will file the rest of the paperwork this week. The total money raised for Jean’s legal fees was $1,650. Thank you all for your generosity and we will report back as soon as we get more information.

If you are interested in joining the Immigration Issues Team, please contact Yolanda @ yolanda@indivisiblemb.org.

URGENT from Immigration Team

Critical dispatch from Yolanda and our Immigration Issues Team.  IF YOU CAN HELP, contact us!

All Friends and Concerned Citizens:

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.

NEEDED NOW: Fight Immigration Attacks By Supporting Adelanto Hunger-Strikers

The IMB Immigration Team sends an urgent update on Adelanto:

Do you want to see how “Great” America is?  Drive over to Adelanto Detention Facility and be a witness to human rights violations, corporations profiting over human misery, ICE denying freedom to political asylees by setting high bonds or denying bonds.  Do you know our tax dollars are paying to house humans beings whose only crimes is to dare dream of a better life for their families or having the audacity to flee violence and leave everything they know and love behind?

Within the last month, five of the hunger strikers have been deported after being held for more than a year. We were powerless to help them. Only five remain: three have been denied bonds and will remain there as ICE will not release them. The other two we can get out right now with your help. WE NEED $4,715 TO PAY THEIR BONDS AND GET THEM OUT. Can you help? If so, please donate to: CLUEjustice.org/adelanto.

Indivisible Morongo Basin Immigration Issues Team has collected clothes, shoes, and toiletries for the men and I can’t express how grateful I am to all who’ve contributed to this cause. Two months ago, we received a $500 donation to pay the ankle monitor monthly fee for one of the men YOUR generous donations helped extract from that deplorable place. A couple of hosts are ready to open their home and provide a place to stay for the two young men. LET’S GET THEM OUT NOW!  CLUEjustice.org/adelanto. Please share and contribute as much as you can.

Hard-Won Victories! Refugee Caravan & Adelanto Hunger Strike

Yesterday, our Immigration Issues Team delivered newly released Adelanto hunger-striker Luis to the airport in Los Angeles, a free man.  But first, Yolanda drove him for an interview with Undocumedia, than to the Santa Monica Pier and a long walk on the beach.  So much to celebrate!  Here’s the inspiring updates from coalition member Alex Mensing (en Español):

Good Evening! Buenas Noches!

 

Thank you, to each and every one of you. Here’s the news:

  • Mateo’s bond reduced!
  • Luis is free!
  • Aaron is free!
  • Jonathan won!
We have several victories to celebrate, but I’ll start with Mateo, since I just got off the phone with him. Keep reading, though, and you’ll see there’s lots to celebrate today.

 

Mateo, one of the #Adelanto9 hunger strikers, just called me from Adelanto Detention Center. Today his immigration bond was lowered from $30,000 to $5,000, and he was literally on the brink of tears, bursting with joy and gratitude for everything that has been achieved in this struggle.

 

“I have no words to thank you all,” he said. “I never imagined we would get this far.”

 

Mateo joined the Refugee Caravan in Chiapas, Mexico in April. He joined 250 other Central Americans on an organized, self-defended journey north to the US border, where he crossed, was detained by US immigration officials, and sent to Adelanto in Southern California’s high desert. Despite repeatedly stating that he feared for his life in El Salvador – both verbally and in writing – on May 30th, ICE attempted to deport him, denying him the right to seek asylum. After a flurry of early morning phone calls & emails, Mateo was literally pulled out of line for a deportation plane and returned to Adelanto. A volunteer prepared him for his credible fear interview, which he passed, but ICE told him only $30,000 would get him out of jail.

 

On June 12th, Mateo and 8 other Central Americans launched a nonviolent hunger strike to protest abysmal conditions and impossibly high bonds. They immediately suffered brutal repression by GEO’s private prison guards, who beat and pepper sprayed them before sending them to solitary confinement. Mateo was drenched with pepper spray, especially in his crotch area, leaving him with skin problems that he still suffers from. Never to be deterred, in the following weeks they joined forces with Haitian detainees to launch even larger hunger strikes.

 

Despite all the hardship Mateo has faced, he and his companions have supported each other, encouraged each other, helped each other call their families when they don’t have any phone credit, and stayed focused on their goal. Today, with the help of a great many of you, Mateo took a huge step towards that goal. Bond reduced from $30k to $5k. With a few more bond fund donations (wink wink) he’ll be free in no time!

 

Today, we won a victory. That’s real teamwork. Special thanks to Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab and UC Irvine law students.

 

And what else?

 

Last night, Luis, another of the Adelanto hunger strikers, walked free!!! Here he is:

 

 

Thanks to generous donations, Luis’ entire $10,000 bond was paid. That means he did not have to resort to evil bond companies like Libre By Nexus who put a GPS ankle monitor on you and charge you 20% + $880 fee + $420/month – an amount that doesn’t even go towards paying your bond. Luis is free, and he’s really free. No ankle monitor. No monthly payments. Just court. In other words, just due process for an asylum seeker, as it should be. Well done, everyone! Luis’ first meal as a free man was two carne asada tacos and a coke! Special thanks to Mark Kleiman, Undocumedia, Human Rights Alliance and Indivisible Morongo Basin.

 

Also last night, Aaron, a well-loved member of the Refugee Caravan, also walked free!! Here he is with Maria Elena. Hi!

 

 

And the good news for Aaron doesn’t stop there. He walked free because HE WON HIS ASYLUM CASE!!! With pro-bono legal representation while detained in Theo Lacy (a notoriously horrendous detention center in Los Angeles) and then James Musick detention facility, Aaron fought his asylum case and won. He will have permission to live and work in peace, he will not be deported, and in a year he can apply for legal permanent residency. Special thanks to Friends of Orange County Detainees, LA Public Counsel, Mayer Brown LLP,

 

And last but not least, Jonathan, another Refugee Caravan member, won protection under the Convention Against Torture! That means that while Jonathan doesn’t have a path to citizenship (at least not yet! we’ll keep fighting…), he will not be deported to Honduras, where he faces grave danger, and he will be able to get out of immigration detention and hopefully be reunited with his beautiful little boy, “el colocho,” who was everyone’s favorite trouble-maker on the Caravan. Here are his little boy and him on the Caravan:

 

In conclusion…

 

You are part of something extraordinary and unusual that is growing, a hopeful effort to develop new ways to stand in solidarity with migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, brothers & sisters from all over the world for justice & freedom and against border imperialism. Black & Brown solidarity has flourished in this movement, grassroots support has been key, and migrant leadership has been constant. I really hope that you share this good news with your friends, family and colleagues, because we’re not hearing enough of it these days! I wish I could individually thank everyone who was involved in this effort, but there are too many – truly an army.

 

And if you’d like to get more involved or donate, please take that step! To find out how you can help, shoot me an email at mensing.alex@gmail.com. To donate to pay for Adelanto hunger strikers’ bonds, go to this website. Also, there’s another caravan taking place right now! The Viacrucis Guadalupano. Check it out here.
 
CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU!!!

Immigration Team Update!

It’s been a busy period for the IMB Immigration Issues Team. Team Co-Leads Yolanda and Deborah were able to meet some of the released Adelanto Hunger Strikers (thank you so much, Indivisibles, for your invaluable assistance to the Bond Fund with contributions and sharing! together, we have made a difference!).

The team quickly organized a rally held October 6, calling on Representative Paul Cook to support a clean DREAM Act. We tried to invite Representative Cook to attend, but his email inbox was full!

Beautiful afternoon in Joshua Tree

Even without the congressman, we had a solid group of about 35 people in Joshua Tree on a Friday afternoon, standing up with our DACA recipient brothers and sisters, and there was lots of support from passing cars. Thank you to those who showed up, and to those who shared their support! A local DACA recipient came by and thanked us for the action and the moral support. It’s gratifying to know that you’re making a difference, and we’re so happy to show our solidarity with these young people.

Trump chicken flies in for DACA rally. Thanks, Indivisible San Bernardino!

Team Co-Leads were also able to see Senator Kamala Harris speaking at a jam-packed DREAM Act rally organized by CHIRLA and the student chapter of KRC at UC Irvine October 11. Senator Harris is an inspiring speaker, and the rally was fun and very loud! We were proud and happy to stand with the DREAMers, “chin up, shoulders back,” as Senator Harris put it.

Senator Kamala Harris at DACA rally at UC Irvine.

The only sour note was that some pro-Trump, anti-immigration counter-demonstrators were there, too…these particular people are familiar to Indivisible members, since they have exercised their First Amendment rights as loudly as possible at several demonstrations we’ve attended, including at Adelanto Detention Center and San Bernardino. This time, it appeared that they were encouraged to leave by police, although we weren’t close enough to hear exactly what transpired. We note that every time they have been present at a rally, they have been hugely outnumbered! And so it goes.

Supporting the DREAMers at UC Irvine

See more pictures and video of the rallies in Joshua Tree and at UC Irvine on the IMB Facebook page.

Rally in Joshua Tree October 6 to Support DREAMers!

Hey Paul Cook! Support our DREAMers!

Indivisible Morongo Basin will be rallying in Joshua Tree on Friday October 6 to ask Paul Cook to support the DREAM Act and keep DACA youth in the USA, their home!

The rally will meet from 5 to 6:30 pm at Highway 62 and Park Boulevard in Joshua Tree.

The bipartisan DREAM Act is legislation that will provide a path to citizenship for young people who were brought to the US as children. These young people have already passed background checks, and are currently in the military, in school and/or working. When President Trump rescinded DACA, he set in motion a process that will deport these upstanding people who only want to stay as productive members of society in the only home they’ve known.

More info at the Action Meeting on Tuesday, October 3 (did you register yet?) but get started now making a sign so we can stand up together for all members of our community!

Rumor has it the Trump Chicken might fly in for the occasion!

Tell Paul Cook that supporting the bipartisan DREAM Act is the right thing to do!

Support Needed For Released Adelanto Hunger-Strikers

We’ll provide a detailed update later today, but here’s what you need to know now:

The good news: Two more hunger-strikers are released!  Charles and Ceus have joined Julio, Civile, and Isaac on the outside.  Thank you for your contributions – now let’s bring the rest of the strikers home!

The need: The strikers that are released need support from all of us – money for basics, transportation volunteers, host families – everything.  Let’s all support the IMB Immigration Team and the other members of the coalition by pitching in any way we can.  Contact us with your donations or offers or for details on how you can help.

Here is an early assessment of the needs, and we will provide an update on the situation later today:

Money for:

  • Travel
  • Lodging
  • Food
  • Ankle monitor ($420/month)

Host families:

  • Short term
  • Long term

Transportation volunteers:

  • Pickup from Adelanto to North Hollywood (bail bondsman)
  • To lodging (Strategic lodging near North Hollywood [one night at least])
  • Pickup from lodging to host family (temp or long term)
  • Pickup to airport/bus depot

Clothes

Toiletries

International phone cards

THANK YOU, INDIVISIBLES!

 

Three Released From Adelanto

This is solidarity in action:  Thanks to your generosity, three of the Adelanto hunger strikers were freed this week.  Meet Isaac, Julio, and Civile.  They will now join the coalition to actively free the remaining detainees.

Isaac, Julio, and Civile

We’re up to $15,000, with nearly up to 5 detainees able to be released from Adelanto!  Isaac, Julio and Civile are the first three.  So we were excited that the average bond amount for the Adelanto Hunger Strikers had come down to about $2,300 per man. Then when CLUE started going to get them out, they found a little fine print addition of an $800 per man “release fee.” So the total per detainee is now about $3,100 each–still attainable, but it will take a little longer. Nonetheless, we are delighted we’ve collectively raised more than $9,500! That’s three detainees. Please help the remaining hunger strikers go home to their families:  contribute if you are able, and share.

Read  more on our Immigration Issues page, and the San Bernardino Sun has a new article on the situation here.

Standing Up for DACAmented Youth

August 15th was the fifth anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a program that has provided safe harbor to live and work in our communities for 800,000 Americans who arrived in the U.S. as children. With Trump in office, these young people are facing the unthinkable prospect of being ripped from their homes and shoved into the deportation pipelineOn Tuesday, August 15, IMB members joined others across the nation to take the future of the DACAmented youth out of Trump’s hands by urging Senators Feinstein and Harris and Congressman Paul Cook to co-sponsor the bipartisan DREAM Act — S.1615 and H.R. 3591 (learn more about DACA and these bills here).

Indivisible National highlights some of the actions taken last week:

Thanks to all the groups who stood side-by-side with DACAmented Americans this week. You should continue to tell your MoCs to stand up for childhood arrivals and co-sponsor S.1615 and H.R. 3591 now using our explainer and script developed in partnership with United We Dream and the National Immigration Law Center.

You can read more about United We Dream’s events in Washington and Indivisible Co-Executive Directors’ civil disobedience arrest in support of DACAmented Americans on the Indivisible Guide blog.

How You Can Help the Hunger Strikers at Adelanto

Are you angered by immigrant abuse at the Adelanto Detention Facility and wishing you could help the refugees there on hunger strike?

Now, the Los Angeles group Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) is organizing a fundraising effort to get these men out of detention.  Please consider a donation, if you are able, or share this post and links to help spread the word!

To recap: People seeking asylum in the US, political and economic refugees from Central America and elsewhere, people who are in fear for their lives in their homelands, are detained at taxpayer expense in private prisons, for corporate profits. These people are not criminals, and have broken no laws in the United States, but when they approach the border and make their plea for asylum, they are separated from their families and put in detention with bond requirements completely beyond their means–sums ranging from $15,000 to $80,000.

Nine detainees at Adelanto Detention Center went on a hunger strike to protest their situation and the treatment they have received. One was deported, but eight remained. These eight were joined by 20 detained Haitians in solidarity, and these 28 men have succeeded in having their bond amounts reduced. The total amount is still $493,500–an absurd amount that is clearly beyond these innocent refugees’ ability to pay–but for a fraction of that, and including the amounts the detainees’ families have been able to scrape together, these men could be released and allowed to join their families, where they will be able to recuperate and prepare for their hearings, and attempt to raise the rest of the bond money.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times or on our Immigration Issues page.

So do you want to make a difference?  Help the hunger strikers with a donation and share this post and links to help spread the word!  #WelcomeRefugees #Not1More ClueJustice.org/Adelanto