Lazaro’s story on the front page of the Florida Weekly

Lazaro’s story has been receiving a huge amount of local and national media attention due to his family’s compelling story.

Florida Weekly manages to capture images of Lazaro’s family with his wife and children as well as contextualize how his story fits into the grander scheme of police-ICE collaboration through Secure Communities and 287g.

Please some time and read more about this extremely powerful story and see what happens when communities fight back with their stories!

Click on the links below:

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Update on Alexis’ Case

April 18, 2012 Update

Yesterday, we asked all of you to help and contribute to Alexis’s bond fund. Today, we learned that his parents have been able to collect the $2500 amount through friends, relatives and their fellow church peers. 

It’s amazing what the power of community can do! 



Lee and Collier Residents are under attack by local police and ICE!

Under Attack

Our local project continues getting calls from community residents who are sharing horrible stories of fear, persecution and family separation. We are in the 21st century and freedom for some is yet to come.

In the weekend paper, we see a story on checkpoints, a policing practice that is funneling fathers, mothers and children into the immigration system.  If it wasn’t bad enough that our communities are taking hit from the polimigra and these practices, we are taking one from local residents who simply don’t understand that there are “lawbreakers” in their midst. They don’t quite get why it would be necessary for someone to drive a car without a license.

“I mean, really, how can these people not have a license? Get in back of the line!” This was one of the better behaved comments on the local news website. If it only were as simple as getting in the back of the line or getting licenses.

The calls keep on coming and they don’t have an end in sight. So we are doing what we can–sharing these testimonies far and wide, reaching to our media contacts and pressuring the local sheriff to stop the madness.

Three local cases expose the injustices that exist in the collaboration between police and immigration agents in our local Southwest Florida community.

The Power of Collective Voice 

This week, we launched two petitions and a bond fund to fundraise for our third local case.

The way it works is that when we can and when the family consents, we launch petitions and spread the news of a local deportation case underway. We are only able to because the family has consented to move forward. Most of these individuals have lawyers and so, they are seeking an extra way to push and pressure for their loved one’s release. Additionally, they know that they are not the only ones undergoing this struggle. There are many others like them and they know how important it is to raise their voice in support of those very people.

Collective voice is powerful and it become pivotal in an area so drastically pummeled by conservative politics as well as insidious programs like SCOMM and 287g. Collier County immigrant families are finally understanding the waves of change and are using their voice to create the current.

Here are three stories that merit attention not only for the indecency and injustice that is being committed against them, but for their bravery in sharing their struggle with the rest of us.

Injustices left and right: At the mercy of police and ICE 

#1 Jose Melgar

Sign his petition

After being detained for approximately a week and a half, Jose’s mother decided to speak out on the injustice that is taking place in her son’s case.

Jose was picked up by Collier County police and ICE agents at his Fort Myers home on April 9th.

With no provocation, he was beaten repeatedly and both his mother and sister were threatened with the same treatment.

He is currently being held in Krome Detention Center in Miami, where he currently sits awaiting for possible deportation. We are doing all we can to make sure that he is reunited with his mother.

We started a petition for him 24 hours ago and already we are seeing an outpouring of response and support! Please help us get to our goal of 1,000 signatures!

#2 Alexis David 

Alexis, here shown with his little sister, was picked up by Collier County police department about two months ago.

He is currently being held in Krome Detention Center.

At 18 years old, Alexis has endured much more than any other one of his peers at his age. By the same token, his family have been under a lot of stress trying to coordinate what do for him.

This morning, after much push to get him a bond hearing and get him released,  we were alerted that we had a breakthrough.

Alexis was granted a $2500 bond and can be released upon payment. However, the fight isn’t over. His family, who have been financially strapped, are unable to pay the full amount. His mother, Adolfina, will start fundraising at her local church selling dinners and snacks to local parishioners in hopes of fundraising the money. On our end, we want to help and we have started a bond fund for him.

This service, provided by Chipin, is Paypal supported, which means is safe and trustworthy.

Click here to donate and help us get Alexis back to his family!

#3 Eliberto Orozco 

Eliberto, a father of four US born children, was picked up in March near his Immokalee home for driving without a license.

Due to a past deportation order, which was issued due to a missed court hearing, Eliberto is now being held in Collier County Jail awaiting his transfer to Krome Detention Center.

He has left behind 4 daughters, one of which has a possible hear condition. His wife, Bertha, is unable to work due to the fact that she takes her of her youngest daughter and has enough money to last her for two months.

If Eliberto is deported, Bertha and her kids risk not being able to support themselves.

Please help us get this family reunited by signing his petition! 

Undocumented Immigration Shown to Have Little Impact on Wages

The Federation for American Immigration Reform’s fact sheet on Arizona highlights these two juxtaposed statements: “Illegal immigrants make up 10% of the workforce in Arizona;” and “Unemployment in Arizona in March 2010 was 9.6%.” FAIR does not explicitly state here why these two points are positioned beside one another, but the argument the organization is making here is clear: An influx of undocumented workers into Arizona’s economy both takes job opportunities away from citizens and drives labor costs down to a level where those authorized to work in this country simply can not compete. However, a new study recently released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta seriously undermines this logic.

According to the study, the presence of undocumented workers in the U.S. has a negligible impact on the wages paid within a given industry in this country. The study shows that those employed by a company who hires undocumented workers earn annually just .15 percent less than those employed within the same industry by a company that does not hire undocumented individuals. In fact, in some industries, including leisure and hospitality, companies with undocumented workers actually pay their employees more on average than those whose workforce are entirely authorized.

For Many Immigrants’ Children, American Dream Lies Abroad

Samir Kapadia seemed to be on the rise in Washington, moving from an internship on Capitol Hill to jobs at a major foundation and a consulting firm. Yet his days, he felt, had become routine.

By contrast, friends and relatives in India, his native country, all in their early-to-mid-20s, were telling him about their lives in that newly surging nation. One was creating an e-commerce business, another a public relations company, still others a magazine, a business incubator and a gossip and events Web site.

“I’d sit there on Facebook and on the phone and hear about them starting all these companies and doing all these dynamic things,” recalled Mr. Kapadia, 25, who was born in India but grew up in the United States. “And I started feeling that my 9-to-5 wasn’t good enough anymore.”

Obama Promises Immigration Reform in First Year of Second Term

During a recent interview, President Obama promises immigration reform during the first year of his second term if he is reelected. Click here for a video of the interview.

On Friday evening, Univision News’ new anchor anchor Enrique Acevedo spoke with President Barack Obama about some of the country’s most pressing issues at the moment.

Below is a transcripts on Obama’s comments on immigration reform and the Trayvon Martin case.

Enrique Acevedo: Mr. President, excuse the personal note, but I grew up in a generation that has lived with the unfulfilled promise of immigration reform, and I’m not that young. And do you think if you are reelected you will be the President that gets it done? And can you promise you’ll do it within the first year of your second term?

President Barack Obama: I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term. I want to try this year. The challenge we’ve got on immigration reform is very simple. I’ve got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it, and I’ve got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it. It’s worse than that. We now have a Republican nominee who said that the Arizona laws are a model for the country; that — and these are laws that potentially would allow someone to be stopped and picked up and asked where their citizenship papers are based on an assumption.

EA: Racial profiling.

PBO: Very troublesome, and this is something that the Republican nominee has said should be a model for the country. So what we need is a change either of Congress or we need Republicans to change their mind, and I think this has to be an important debate during — throughout the country. What I’ve said to Latinos across the United States is that my passion for this issue is undiminished; that when it comes to, for example, the Dream Kids who have been raised as Americans and see themselves as Americans and want to serve their country or are willing to work hard in school and start businesses or work in our laboratories and in our businesses, it is shameful that we cannot get that done. And so I’m just going to keep on pushing as hard as I can, and what I’m going to be encouraging is the Latino community continue to ask every member of Congress where they stand on these issues, but the one thing that I think everybody needs to understand is that this is something I care deeply about. It’s personal to me, and I will do everything that I can to try to get it done. But ultimately I’m going to need Congress to help me.

EA: Finally, Mr. President, why is it that half a century after the Civil Rights Movement and after the American people elected their first African American President do I have to stand today here in front of you and ask you about racial tensions in the U.S.? And of course, I’m referring to the Trayvon Martin case.

PBO: Well, I think we all understand that issues of race are deeply embedded in the history of this country. Sometimes that history has been tragic, slavery, Jim Crow, but also more recent examples of anti-immigrant sentiment, and you know, I think what I always tell people is that, you know, my election alone is not going to completely transform attitudes because this has to do with hearts and not just minds. It has to do with attitudes, not just laws. On the other hand, I think we have to take heart from the fact that things have changed profoundly since I was born, and you know, when you see the next generation, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and their friends, their attitudes are more enlightened than the attitudes of my generation. So with each successive generation there are going to be misunderstandings; there are going to be tensions; there’s going to be tragedy sometimes, and what’s important for us to do is to look at it honestly, look at it squarely, but then move forward. And that’s part of the reason why issues like immigration reform are so important. We’re a nation of laws, but we’re also a nation of immigrants. We draw strength from our diversity. The fact that I can talk to you as President of the United States; you’re a major television anchor, both of us having backgrounds that 20, 30 years ago wouldn’t have existed in these positions. Well, that tells a story of American progress and American strength because what it means is we have connections to Colombia and Latin America and Africa and Asia, and that’s part of our influence around the world, is that we’re not just one type of people. We’re one people, but we come from many places, and we need to build on that strength in order to win the future.

An undocumented man’s quest to get better

When restaurant customers learned that the waiter they called Angel was in the hospital with kidney failure, they stuffed bills into a collection jar to help support his family. His brother offered something more precious: a healthy kidney to restore his life.