Skip to content

Our detained client at GEO center in Texas: “Maggots in the food caused us to start on a hunger strike.”

Our detained client, Angel Guillen, who is only 18 years old and eligible for a green card as a special immigrant juvenile, was a participant in the ongoing hunger strike at the Joe Corley Detention Facility, owned and operated by the GEO Group. (P.S. Please sign his petition for release from detention)

In a phone call today, Angel informed us that he and others decided to start a hunger strike because there were maggots in the food served at the facility.

When the detainees complained to someone at the facility about the maggots, they were told that nothing would be done because no one cares about them.

Today I spoke to the warden at Joe Corley, who told me that there were never any maggots in the food. The warden further stated that the hunger strike was only in response to detainees’ immigration concerns.

We believe our client, who gave up on the hunger strike when he saw many others who were unable to continue. According to the Warden, 12 detainees remain on hunger strike as of today.

 

A Glimpse of ICE’s True Priorities: Parents of U.S. citizen children with no criminal record.

The Obama administration always speaks of how ICE prioritizes dangerous criminals for deportations. This is not true. Look at the following footage of our client, Wilfredis Ayala Castillo, who is the sole financial support for his 4 year-old U.S. citizen son, Justin. Wilfredis has no criminal history.

On March 22, 2014, ICE headquarters  informed us that they concurred with the Newark Field Office’s decision to deny Wilfredis’ request for prosecutorial discretion. Securing deportations should not be more important than the lives of U.S. citizen children like Justin.

Please take a moment to sign a petition on Wilfredis’ behalf to stop his deportation. http://action.dreamactivist.org/newjersey/wilfredo/

HELP STOP DEPORTATION OF FATHER OF 4 YEAR OLD U.S. CITIZEN BOY WITH A SEVERE MEDICAL CONDITION

Wilfredis, currently detained by ICE , with his U.S. citizen son Justin, who is only 4 years old. ICE denied Wilfredis's request for discretion and plans to deport him.

Wilfredis, currently detained by ICE , with his U.S. citizen son Justin, who is only 4 years old. ICE denied Wilfredis’s request for discretion and plans to deport him.

Wilfredis Castillo (A #098-651-976) is the most important person in the life of his 4 year old son, Justin, a U.S. citizen who suffers from severe food allergies which  require him to be hospitalized frequently.

Wilfredis is the sole financial provider for Justin. His dad is his best friend.

But ICE is more interested in deporting Wilfredis than ensuring that a U.S. citizen boy who needs his dad in his life is separated from him forever.

Wilfredis has been detained by ICE in New Jersey for one month despite never having been convicted of a crime.

On March 3, ICE denied his request for prosecutorial discretion, even though he clearly falls under the guidelines as set forth in the Morton Memorandum and in the Sandweg Directive because he has a U.S. citizen child who suffers from a severe medical ailment, has resided in the U.S. since 2005, has no criminal history, and who has minimal ties to his native country of Honduras.

The Field Office Director of ICE’s New Jersey Office justified its decision by stating that:

Granting a stay of deportation or removal is reserved for a select group of cases whose circumstances reflect compelling humanitarian factors and, when considered with the mission of the agency, warrant such extraordinary action. The immigration history of this case, when balanced against the positive factors you raise and the agency’s goals, do not warrant a positive exercise of discretion.

This is unacceptable. Wilfredis does have a removal order from 2005. But his son’s entire life should not be sacrificed for the agency’s goal of removing as many individuals as possible irrespective of how it will devastate vulnerable members of our community.

 Please call ICE’s Deputy Assistant Director Andrew Lorenzen Strait at 202-732-4262 and Assistant Field Office Director Mark Vogler at 973-776-3328 to request Wilfredis be granted a stay of removal so that his son does not lose his dad forever. 

Alternatively, please write to Newark.Outeach@ICE.DHS.GOV and Ero.Outreach@ICE.DHS.GOV. Here is a sample script: 

Wilfredis Castillo (A # 098-651-976) is the sole financial provider of 4 year old U.S. citizen son who has severe food allergies and who will be devastated if his father is removed from the United States. He has no criminal convictions.

 Under the Morton Memorandum, Wilfredis is a perfect candidate for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion given how important he is to the welfare of his 4 year old U.S. citizen son, his length of residence in the United States, and the absence of any criminal history. 

 Given that Wilfredis is not a priority for removal under the Morton Memorandum and the Sandweg Directive, I respectfully request that the denial of his stay of removal be reconsidered. 

4 Sisters Granted Special Findings Orders From Family Court Will Now Get Green Cards.

Today the lives of 4 sisters from Central America–aged 16, 12, 10, and 5–have taken a turn for the better: A family court judge granted custody of the children to their mother and also issued a special findings order for each child. What this means is that all 4 sisters, who are currently in deportation proceedings, will now be able to apply for their green cards as special immigrant juveniles.

To top things off, the judge gave them lollipops as a bonus! All credit goes to Ala Amoachi, who managed to weave 4 convoluted stories into one clear legal brief.

Here is a picture of the children with their mother and stepfather:

IMG_8517

 

New York Appellate Court Issues Amazing Special Immigrant Juvenile Decision.

On February 5, 2014, the Appellate Division of the Second Judicial Department in New York issued a splendid decision that will have a huge impact on the future of undocumented children in New York.

In many situations, in order for an undocumented child to obtain residency through Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”), the child must first have someone appointed as their guardian.

Unfortunately, many judges in family court are  skeptical of SIJS and as a result deny guardianship petitions if the natural parent is the petitioner.

In Brooklyn, Queens, Suffolk, and Nassau Counties, family court judges will no longer be able to deny guardianship petitions just because the natural parent is the petitioner. A big HATS OFF to the great  Professor Theo Liebmann  and his students at Hofstra University School of Law’s Youth Advocacy Clinic!

Here is the holding and link to the full decision:

On this appeal, we conclude that the subject children, facing the possibility of being separated from their only parent and returned to their native country where gang members have threatened their lives, may seek to have their natural mother appointed as their guardian as a first step toward obtaining legal residency in the United States.

 

 

NY Daily News Covers ICE’s Aggressive Attempts to Deport Our Client, an Abandoned Child Eligible For a Green Card

Erica Pearson of the New York Daily News wrote an article in today’s paper on ICE’s aggressive attempts to deport our client, a minor abandoned by both her parents who is eligible for a green card.

Here is the article below:

Long Islander Antonio Rodas is fighting to get his 19-year-old niece, Salvadoran Maria Isabel Peña Rodas, out of immigration detention and seeks to become her legal guardian

Federal authorities say Peña Rodas is an adult and deportation priority, but uncle’s lawyers say she is eligible for a special green card for abused or abandoned youth

BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

MONDAY, JANUARY 13, 2014, 10:20 PM

CHRISTIE M FARRIELLA FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A Long Island man fighting to get his niece out of immigration detention wants to become her legal guardian — and his lawyers say she is eligible for a special green card for abused or abandoned youth.

But federal authorities say 19-year-old Maria Isabel Peña Rodas, who left El Salvador last fall, is an adult. And because she’s a recent border crosser, she is a deportation priority.

Border officials caught Peña Rodas in Texas, and she has been in a California detention center for more than four months.

“I am just asking God and immigration to give her a chance to be with us,” said Peña Rodas’ uncle and godfather, Antonio Rodas, 43, of St. James, who has permission to live and work in the U.S. and does prep work at an Italian restaurant.

Rodas’ lawyer Ala Amoachi said Peña Rodas, who was abandoned by her parents and living with her grandmother in El Salvador, should qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, available to abandoned or abused people younger than 21.

“She would be clearly eligible,” Amoachi said. “We said, ‘Why don’t you release her on an order of supervision? Give us some time to get the process started.’ ”

But Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say that isn’t a reason to let Peña Rodas into the U.S. — because she would first need a family court judge to either declare her a court dependent or legally commit her to the care of a guardian.

She would also need a court order saying she can’t be reunited with one or more parents, and for the court to find that it’s in her best interest to stay in the U.S.

“An undocumented individual is only eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status if they are already a ward or dependent of the state court in the state where they reside,” ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said.

Amoachi expects a New York family court would grant Peña Rodas what she needs, but that can’t happen unless she’s in the state. If Peña Rodas were 17, officials would have already released her.

It is ICE’s policy not to detain unaccompanied kids younger than age 18 for more than 48 hours.

She would have instead been turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, within the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, and then either housed in a federal care center or placed with family.

As a growing number of young Central Americans travel alone to the Mexican border — many fleeing abusive homes or gang recruitment — Amoachi said those ages 18 to 20 face a paradox. They are too old to fit ICE’s requirements for release, but still young enough to qualify for a Juvenile Status green card.

Antonio Rodas said his niece told him she feared for her safety in her hometown — that two men had tried to assault her as she walked home from a store. “It would be a better life for her here,” he said.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/latino/uncle-battles-deportation-niece-article-1.1578604#ixzz2qOLQxRCm

Telemundo Exposes ICE’s Aggressive Deportation of Abused & Abandoned Children

Two of our clients, who are 18 and 19 years old, are currently detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement despite being eligible for green cards as children abused and abandoned by their biological parents. In legal terms, they are special immigrant juveniles (SIJ).

We have written extensively on this issue here and here.

Note that ICE is flat out wrong when it claims SIJ is only available to children abused or abandoned in their native countries. The actual law states that a person only has to show that reunification with one or both parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis found under State law.  8 U.S.C. § 1107(a)(27)(J)(i).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers