Community holds vigil for families affected by ICE raids

Press releases from Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Accion:

On April 14th Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted raids in Western North Carolina where over 26 people were detained. Over the last 3 weeks, two people affected by the raids have already been deported and others awaiting their deportation with fear of returning to a country they have not seen in years. Others are waiting for a decision on their cases as early as this week.

WHAT: Vigil for families affected by ICE raids in WNC
WHERE: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville 1 Edwin Pl, Asheville, NC, 28801
WHEN: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 6pm- 7pm
WHO: Families of men currently detained at Stewart Detention Center

Post raids, Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Accion (CIMA) is actively working with 11 families affected by the ICE raids. Juan Manuel Guardian Romero is one of those families; Juan Manuel was detained even though he currently has a valid tourist visa that expires in June. Juan Manuel’s case is an example of how immigration laws are broken even for those that follow the process of “getting in line.”

The ICE raids affected four counties in WNC and created psychological and emotional turmoil to everyone in our region. We believe that these men should be reunited with their families and their communities. Because no human being should undergo the treatment and conditions that people experience being detained in Stewart Detention Center, in rural Lumpkin, GA.

Press release from Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville: 

Join us at the vigil to hear the stories from family members of the people detained during the recent ICE raid in WNC.

Since the Raids took place CIMA has been communicating with the 26 detainees and their family members. Post raids, Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Accion (CIMA) is actively working with 11 families affected by the ICE raids. Here are three of their stories.

1. Juan Manuel Guardian Romero was wrongly snatched up by the recent ICE raids that took place in Western North Carolina. He was picked up in Spruce Pine, NC where he was staying with his brother.  He has a valid visitor’s visa that is going to expire this June. Every year for the last 5 years, Juan Manuel has been coming to the US to perform with his Folkloric Dance group, Uarhani Tzipekua. The group performs all over the country; Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois and St. Louis Missouri to name a few.

2. Mateo Perez Perez was born in Chiapas, Mexico. In September 2003, he immigrated to the US in search of a better life. Mateo loves doing construction work, and is constantly working on new projects at home and for his friends and neighbors. After knowing each other for 5 years, Nancy and Mateo finally married in 2017, together they provide and care for Nancy’s five children. In 2007 Mateo fell into depression and sought relief in drinking. That resulted in Mateo being detained and charged with a DUI. That mistake forced him to look for other healthy outlets and began to invest his time and energy in being an active member of his church. On April 14, ICE agents wrongly detained him while looking for another person. Since then, he has been detained at Stewart Detention Center. His children miss him dearly, and every time he calls home, they tell him to tell the officers to “let him come home.”

3. Enrique Perez Ruiz was born in Mexico City, Mexico. He immigrated to the US in 2005, hoping to continue his education. Unfortunately he was overwhelmed with financial hardships that he had to drop out of school and focus on working full time.  He has been with his girlfriend Sonia for the last five years, with whom he was planning on marrying in December. Sonia has two children with a previous marriage; Jose Angel and Jonathan of eight and seven years old. Even though both boys are not his biological children, Enrique still loves and financially provided for them as if they were his. On April 17, while on their way to work, Enrique and Sonia were followed by ICE agents from their mobile homes, and were arrested and put into deportation proceedings. Sonia was released, but Enrique continues to be detained at Stewart Detention center in Georgia.

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One thought on “Community holds vigil for families affected by ICE raids

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    Thank you ICE for doing the job that our Sheriffs just won’t do … They are our problem.

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