Immigration Update November 2021

Dignity and Justice for Immigrants

On October 4, over 60 people, including CLUE clergy, congregated outside of the Federal Building near Downtown Santa Ana to protest the horrible treatment of Haitian Asylum Seekers at the Texas Mexico border. Partners including the Haitian Bridge Alliance, CHIRLA OC, CAIR-LA, OCRRN, OCCCO, and many others gathered to give a press conference to the inhumane actions against black immigrants.

Asylum Seekers Share Their Stories and what the Support of the CLUE Community has Meant to Them

Martha’s Story

Threatened with violence by a drug cartel, 29-year-old Martha had to flee Mexico to save her life. She and her domestic partner turned themselves at the San Ysidro port-of-entry to request asylum. The next month was extremely traumatic; she was separated from her partner and imprisoned with cold, hunger and fear as her constant companions. She was then taken to the Adelanto Detention Facility where she found support from other immigrants and after seven months, she was allowed to post bond. She borrowed the $8,000 she needed for bond from Alicia, a friend she met in Adelanto. Once she was released, she lived with Alicia for six months, but had to move out because there were too many people living there. She had no place to go and no money to even look for a room to rent. Then, God sent her CLUE and  Grace Lutheran Church in Bell became her home. She is grateful to have a safe place to live, healthy food, and some spending money but most recently, CLUE is please to share the great news that Martha just wed the Pastor’s son September 3rd, what a great joy to see Martha celebrate this special ceremony.  CLUE would like to express our gratitude to Pastor Maria Montalvo who has hosted a few asylum seekers as part of the “Shelter in Place” Project.  

Junior’s Story

Gangs in Honduras target entire families when someone crosses them; Junior’s life was in danger because of his father’s dealings with a violent gang. He had to leave his country at very young age as an unaccompanied minor and made the long journey to the USA alone, only able to stay with friends of his father’s occasionally along the way. He crossed the border into this country and as he waited for people who had agreed to meet him, Customs & Border Patrol picked him up. He lived in two shelters for unaccompanied minors before his 18th birthday at which time, he was sent to the Adelanto Detention Facility. His attorney helped demonstrate that his claims were valid and with support from CLUE and the St John’s Episcopal Church Shelter in San Bernardino, the immigration judge released him from detention. He is twenty-one years old now and homesick, he worried about his father and has no way to reach him. Junior is grateful to have made friends at the shelter and very appreciative for all the support he receives from the church and from CLUE.  Currently, Junior just made his transition to a home in Riverside where he now is residing, we are glad for him.  CLUE wants to express our gratitude to Deacon Linda H. Pederson for opening the church to the “Shelter in Place” project.  The church has sponsor more than ten immigrants who were once detained at one time in an immigration detention center.  

Sny’s Story

Thirty nine year old Sny worked in a nightclub in Haiti where he met a man who offered him a better job, he withdrew his acceptance 20 minutes later when he learned that the man was involved in illegal activities – but quitting was not allowed and the man had him run him over by a motorcycle, it took 11 months for him to be able to walk again. But, even after a year, he was persecuted and knew he would never be safe in Haiti. He came to the USA with two relatives and crossed the border to ask for asylum. After 11 days at the border, he was imprisoned in the Otay Detention Facility and released on bond 7 months later. He lived in Miami with his wife’s relatives for about seven months; but things were bad and the Haitian Bridge Alliance brought him and his two relatives to Los Angeles where CLUE sheltered them in a church basement in South LA and gave each of them $150 for a month. They now live in an apartment and CLUE continues helping them, as do volunteers from the community. He is eager to get a work permit to earn money and pay off a debt in Haiti where violent debt collectors are threatening his mother’s life. Sny prays that God bless CLUE for helping immigrants.  CLUE is grateful for the leadership of Pastor Ivan Sevillano at Heritage UMC and his participation in the “Shelter in Place” project.  

CLUE would like to thank also the different faith communities and community orgs who have offer support to those hosted at our churches or homes. 

Immigration Presentation during Yom Kippur 

CLUE was present to observe and speak about immigration during the Yom Kippur service held by our dear friend Rabbi Susan Goldberg at Elysian Park on September 16th.  

The service was dedicated to Social Justice and CLUE was invited alongside our partners at Echo Park UMC to talk about the New Immigration Resource Center created to serve immigrants, a partnership between Echo Park UMC and CLUE.  This new center will help to bring resources to unaccompanied minors,  asylum seekers and other immigrants.  We are thankful for the partnership with Rabbi Susan Goldberg and the congregation at NeFeshLA for their support.  A special thank you to Ian Schiffer, Community Weaver at Nefesh.  

Denouncing the Inhumane Treatment of Asylum Seekers from Haiti

On Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 CLUE faith leaders, labor, and immigration rights activist held a press event and protest to demand the Biden administration STOP their inhumane treatment of Haitian immigrants at Texas Border.  It is so immoral that this administration will be so indifferent to the suffering of Haitians after the terrible earthquake and political violence that just took place.  We demanded that the Biden Administration reverse it’s course of persecution against Haitians immigrants seeking refuge.  

Two days later we organized another press event at Los Angeles Mexican Consulate after US Custom Border Patrol Agents were seen displaying the worst behavior toward Haitian asylum seekers at the Texas border.  This was a response to the new images of Mexican officials at the border displaying brutal force against Haitians, who cross back into Mexican territory to avoid unlawful detention and mistreatment.  For this reason we gather to denounce the treatment by Mexican officials against our Haitian brothers and sisters at the US/Mexican Border.  We demanded that Mexico honor the humanity and dignity of each Haitian immigrant and initiate steps to protect them from abusive agents.  We asked they provide a safety net for all immigrants in Mexican territory.  Mexico must honor its own policy of defending Mexican immigrants against mistreatment in the US by practicing what it preaches with other immigrants in their territory or else, it will lose it’s moral imperative.

These events were organized by CLUE, BAJI and SEIU-721.  CLUE is grateful for the leadership of Pastor Cue, who is the coordinator of the CLUE-BBCC committee along with Rev. Walter Contreras.  Pastor Cue has been very instrumental in the organizing of the respond by CLUE to this inhumanity.  At both events we had lots of media coverage.   

Welcome Fair for Unaccompanied Minors and their Families

On Saturday, September 25th, CLUE, Esperanza Immigrant Rights, LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs and Mayor Garcetti’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Supervisor Hilda Solis’ office and East Los Angeles College held the “Welcome Fair”  for Unaccompanied Minors and their Families.  

The Fair was created to provide much-needed information and assistance to sponsoring families of unaccompanied minors and offer a welcoming setting for these newcomers to our community. At this event we were able to provide services and resources to about 1,000 individuals who include sponsoring families and the unaccompanied minor under their care.  Based on the positive feedback we’ve heard from some of our participants, it was a huge success.

More than forty orgs participated in the event which included our friends from the San Fernando Refugee Center and Echo Park UMC Immigration Resource Center.  Present at the event were also Rev. David Farley, Rev. Frank Wulf, Rev. Walter Contreras and Michelle Snyder of Bend the Arc.  Special thanks to Isaac Cuevas of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace-Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Evgeny Afineevsky, Director of FRANCESCO, for their support and contributions. Additionally thanks to the many volunteers from our different faith communities who were present. 

For information,  please contact Guillermo Torres at [email protected]

Shut Down Adelanto Coalition

For information,  please contact Guillermo Torres at [email protected]