Faith and Immigrant-Rights Advocates Held Vigil Outside of Maryland Mother of Four’s ICE Check-In

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2017

CONTACT:
John Garcia, Director of Communications, jgarcia@latinojustice.org, (212) 739-7513, (917) 673-9095
FERNANDA DURAND, CASA, fdurand@wearecasa.org, (240) 706-2624
Heather Cabral, 202-550-6880, heather@westendstrategy.com

BALTIMORE – Today, dozens of faith and immigrant-rights advocates with CASA, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Sanctuary DMV and PICO National Network came together to join in prayer and support of Roxana Orellana-Santos, an immigrant Maryland mother of four and a fierce civil rights defender. The group held a vigil and press conference this morning outside of her ICE check-in at the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Baltimore, vowing to stay out front until Roxana’s check-in ended and they could ensure she would return home to her family in Maryland until her next appointment in August.

Roxana, an immigrant from El Salvador, has been allowed to stay in the United States temporarily, in part because she is the plaintiff in a civil rights case against Maryland law enforcement based on that agency’s unconstitutional racial profiling of her. It is exactly this type of illegal activity which the immigrant community now fears, as President Trump seeks to enlist local police in the indiscriminate enforcement of our broken immigration system. Unfortunately, she has not been granted any permanent protection from deportation and is at immediate risk at the hands of ICE.

Today’s check in was Roxana’s first since President Trump took office and the Department of Homeland Security released a new memorandum further targeting undocumented immigrants. Roxana was accompanied by two attorneys from CASA to the check-in, but the group of leaders believed her case would be strengthened by the added presence of local faith leaders holding a vigil for her outside. Under constant threat of deportation, she has shown up for periodic check-ins with ICE and has never missed an appointment no matter how frightening the possibility of being separated from her children who are U.S. citizens.

Gustavo Torres, Executive Director CASA, shared his excitement, “We are overjoyed for Roxana but many other immigrants are facing similar situations at this very moment. The administration has lied about their deportation priorities and in the process, they are tearing immigrant families and communities apart.”

"While we are happy that Roxana has successfully gone through her check-in without being detained, the entire process of striking fear into immigrant families is extremely troubling and capricious," said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. "We call on the administration to stop breaking families apart and stop striking fear into the hearts of young children that their family members could be summarily taken away from them. Roxana and her family have lived in the United States for over a decade, she has never committed nor been accused of any criminal activity. She works hard to make a better home for her children. It's is simply unconscionable to hold so many Latinx immigrant families in constant fear and trauma of thinking that they could be separated from their children at any time."

As the Trump Administration pursues its agenda to instill fear and uncertainty on the lives of immigrants through raids, unlawful detentions, deportations and the elimination of due process, advocates are uniting to protect the most vulnerable among us. “The threat looming over this mother of four is not unique,” said PICO’s Immigration Policy Director, Richard Morales. “Like her, thousands of immigrant families are terrorized by the fear of being ripped apart by deportation. There’s a systemic effort underway, not only in Maryland but nationwide, to hunt down as many immigrants as possible – to capture and deport them regardless of familial ties and valuable contributions to our nation. We are of course happy and relieved Roxana has been released and will go home to her husband and little girls today, but there is still work to be done. We’ll continue these acts of support and solidarity and will continue to show up not just for Roxana, but for all immigrants in our community.”

CASA de Maryland, LatinoJustice and several of the immigrants’ rights advocacy groups that gathered in Baltimore today will continue to work on behalf of the Santos family. LatinoJustice would like to thank Michelle Mendez of Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., (CLINIC) in Maryland for her invaluable assistance.

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