While the circumstance under which I met Leslie Corado were (much) less than perfect, I’ve had the honor to work with her over the past month and a half. She lives in Miami, about an hour south of me. She was referred to me by the wife of another detainee I had worked with months ago, and asked for help to get her husband, Marvin, out of detention. He was picked up by police for driving without a license, and was soon transferred to Broward Transitional Center (BTC) under ICE’s custody.
Did he kill someone? No.
Did he hurt anyone? No.
He must have done something other than driving without a license to deserve being in detention for OVER 5 MONTHS!!! Nope.
While the Obama administration continues to claim that it is doing everything it can to support immigrant families, including touting prosecutorial discretion and the Morton Memo, thousands of individuals like Marvin continue to be detained and deported without adequate access to counsel, without due process, and most unfortunately, without having committed any crime or at least any crime worthy of such cruel punishment (i.e. individuals who’ve committed what the federal government considers low priority crimes).
Leslie Corado is a working mother (thanks to ICE, a single working mother), and has spent the last 5 months fighting an uphill battle against the immigration system, a behemoth organization that has seemingly unlimited resources, while at the same time, has held down a paid job and continued to be a loving parent. So that’s three jobs I count. As of three months ago, she started a public campaign for her husband, which has included getting folks from around the country to sign her petition (found here: http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/marvin ), to make daily calls to ICE Director Morton, and has coordinated with activists, organized community members, and has spoken extensively to the press.
On top of all that, Leslie introduced me to her neighbor, Irene, who then introduced me to a family friend in Houston, both of whom have loved ones who were both picked up by ICE in a workplace raid in Houston, Texas. Leslie continues to encourage her neighbor to continue fighting for her brother.
A couple of weeks ago, Leslie began talking with Emiliano, the son of Claudio Rojas, who is also unjustly being detained at BTC. Together, the two of them planned a rally in front of BTC, which attracted approximately 40 individuals from the tri-county area. Emiliano, Leslie, Irene, and others continue to fight the deportations of their loved ones, they continue to support their families, and (sorry to be cheesy, but…) they have become heroes in my eyes simply because they refuse to give up the struggle for someone they love and against such an unjust system.
What started out as a quick blog post about Marvin Corado has turned into something akin to a journal entry for me to expel many of the thoughts and experiences that I’ve had over the past couple of months… I’m in awe of Leslie & Marvin’s resilience. However, their experiences are sadly commonplace. For a period of time, calls were coming in about detainees at BTC to a few of us on what seemed like a daily basis. It’s incredible. It’s heartbreaking. But this is real. You know what else is real? Families and communities want to push back against the system, and they’re doing it successfully!
And I want to continue to be an ally to those that push back.