Latino grocery chains Vallarta Supermarkets and Northgate Gonzalez Market are stepping up to help their community. The two grocery chains are donating tens of thousands of dollars to help members of their community with money for college or legal help for immigration matters. Latinos set a new record in 2016 with 47 percent of Latino high school graduates being enrolled in college, according to Pew Research Center. The current political rhetoric has changed the lives and futures of DACA recipients because of a new lawsuit attacking the program. Here’s how two grocery chains are trying to help members of their community prepare for a better future.
Vallarta Supermarkets is donating $110,000 to nine organizations to help Latinos get to college.
Rick Castillo, Marketing Director of Vallarta Supermarkets, said that the donation aligns closely with the business’s mission to “support education and the needy.”
“More and more Latino students are applying and are being accepted by colleges and universities,” Castillo said. “However, sometimes due to lack of financial resources they don’t complete the 4 or 5 year process to attain their degrees. We wanted to help address this issue.”
According to Pew Research Center, 3.6 million Latinos were enrolled in public and private universities in 2016. This is a 180 percent increase in Latinos in college since 1996 when 1.3 million Latinos were enrolled in higher education.
“The response [to the donation] has been overwhelmingly positive [from customers],” Castillo said. “We couldn’t be happier.”
Northgate Gonzalez Market then announced that they were giving $50,000 to organizations helping DACA recipients.
Northgate is donating the money from their May 1 sales. According to ABC7, Northgate started in Anaheim and has since grown to 40 stores across California.
“This contribution reflects the company’s values and the care and concern the Gonzalez family has for the DREAMers who are trying, as our family did, to live the American dream,” a Northgate spokesperson said in a press release, according to ABC7.
DACA is supposed to protect those who qualify for the protected status from deportation proceedings. This is how the program has worked (or was intended to) since 2012, when President Obama enacted it via executive order. However, many DACA recipients are now facing the uncertain futures they had hoped to avoid by signing up for DACA in the first place as ICE has moved to reopen their deportation cases.
This has thrown people’s futures into doubt and cast a dark shadow over their status and the lives of their families.
ICE has moved to reopen long closed deportation cases against DREAMers.
In an escalation of its pursuit of undocumented immigrants, the Trump administration is moving to deport members of the very group that seemed until a few years ago the most protected: DACA recipients.
ICE has begun asking immigration courts to reopen administratively closed deportation cases against DACA recipients who continue to have no criminal record, or only a minor record. Immigration attorneys in Arizona confirmed at least 14 such cases being reopened since October, and according to a report by CNN, there are also cases which were recently reopened in Nevada, Missouri, California, and New York.
And that is just the beginning. ICE confirmed that all DACA recipients whose deportation cases have been administratively closed can expect to see them reopened. In an email, the agency stated that “re-calendaring of administratively closed cases is occurring nationwide and not isolated to a particular state or region.”Administratively closing a case removes it from the court calendar, in effect putting it on hold indefinitely. Immigration courts are part of the Department of Justice, unlike civil or criminal courts.
The move to reopen deportation cases against Dreamers comes as the US Supreme Court considers whether to let the Trump administration end the program.
During oral arguments in November, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority signaled Tuesday that it may let the Trump administration shut down the Obama-era program that granted temporary protection from deportation to roughly 700,000. Some justices made it clear that they were accepting the president’s assurances that ending DACA would not mean deporting Dreamers.
But immigration attorneys say the cases they are now seeing reopened show how ICE is preparing to deport DACA recipients if the Supreme Court ruling terminates the program.
It has long been the case that Dreamers who are charged with or convicted of a serious crime risk losing DACA status and being deported, since applicants had to have no felonies, significant misdemeanors, or three or more other misdemeanors to qualify for deferred action in the first place.
According to CNN, cases against DACA recipients began being reopened in October.
“It wasn’t until October that DHS (Department of Homeland Security) started to reopen the DACA cases,” Tucson attorney Jesse Evans-Schroeder wrote in an email to CNN. She said five of her DACA clients saw their cases reopened in October or November.
Before May 2018, when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions barred the practice of administratively closing cases, immigration judges as a matter of routine administratively closed deportation cases against people who received DACA, since that status protected them from deportation.
In a statement provided by spokeswoman Paige Hughes, ICE said that it is required under Session’s May 2018 decision “to reopen approximately 350,000 administratively closed cases so they are litigated to completion,” and the applicant is ordered removed or obtains relief. ICE did not break down how many of the 350,000 administratively closed cases involve DACA recipients versus other people who are simply a low priority for deportation, but Hughes said there is no stipulation that would exempt DACA recipients.
Just this week, a DACA recipient in California was arrested by ICE while at her job at a Marriott Hotel.
According to her family and friends, ICE agents took Daniella Ramirez, 23, into custody at 5:30 a.m. Friday.
According to NBC 4, Ramirez worked full time in the kitchen and as a receptionist at the hotel for the past two years. Ramirez came to the U.S. from Mexico with her sister when she was 10-years-old. She graduated from Azusa High School, and her DACA status expired. She told NBC 4 she neglected to renew it out of fear. She says she’d heard she’d be sent to jail if she did.
And a mother driving her 5-year-old to school was stopped, arrested, and held in jail despite having an active DACA status.
Paula Hincapie-Rendon was on her way to drop off her kid at school when an unmarked car started following her. Hours later, her parents were in an ICE detention center and her house had been burglarized.
But on the morning of May 8, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested her a block away from her house in Englewood.
Hincapie-Rendon said she was taking her 5-year-old daughter to school when an unmarked car pulled her over. Two agents approached her car and told her to get out. She asked them to identify themselves three times, but they refused. On the fourth try, they answered.
Hincapie-Rendon asked if she could take her daughter back to the house and leave her with her parents. The agents obliged, with one caveat — they would be driving her car while she sat in their van, handcuffed.
Once at the house, agents found Hincapie-Rendon’s dad, Carlos Hincapie, leaving for work. They arrested him on the spot. Agents then went into the house and arrested Hincapie-Rendon’s mom, Betty Rendon, a Lutheran minister who was set to start her doctorate at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in June. Agents also arrested Hincapie’s cousin, who was staying with the family.
The agents drove the family to ICE’s field office in the Loop. The agency released Hincapie-Rendon that same afternoon under an order of supervision.
In November, the Supreme Court finally heard from the attorney’s representing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) community. It was a moment that was a long time coming. For the past three years, or we should say since Donald Trump was elected as president, the DACA community has lived a life of limbo and uncertainty as DACA has been attacked. So, while we wait for the decision from the Supreme Court, which should be at some point early next year, some DACA beneficiaries are still fighting for their lives.
Twenty-four-year-old Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez is suing the government because he continues to be in ICE detention.
In May 2019, Lopez Gutierrez was on his way home to Chicago from a camping trip with friends when they were pulled over. An Iowa police officer found that Lopez Gutierrez was in possession of marijuana. He was arrested on the spot. What made the issue more complicated was that Lopez Gutierrez was undocumented.
While the drug charges were dropped, Lopez Gutierrez was still taken to ICE detention. You may be wondering if this 24-year-old man had DACA protection. Well, he did.
Lopez Gutierrez had DACA in 2013, but when it expired in 2015, he had not renewed his application. Then Trump became president, and no one was safe. Soon after his election, people with DACA were being detained. Now, attorney’s for Lopez Gutierrez say he must be released in order to reapply for DACA.
“Jesus has spent more than seven months in immigration detention. Under ICE’s policies, they should have released him. If they only released him, he would be able to get DACA again to apply for renewal and avoid deportation. Instead, they are keeping him in jail, violating the U.S. Constitution,” his attorney Wally Hilke said this week at a press conference, a local Chicago radio station reports.
The lawsuit filed is against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and two agencies within that department. Lopez Gutierrez’s attorney says he must be released because he qualifies for temporary protection from deportation.
“We are asking that Beto be released from detention,” Xanat Sobrevilla of OCAD told the radio station. “His immediate freedom is necessary. Beto is missed by his family and community. We will pursue and continue fighting until Beto is back home in Chicago.”
“Just a reminder that we’re still pushing for Jesus Alberto to be transferred to Chicago as this is the next immediate step in his Fight for Freedom. In order to make that happen, we need to pressure Eric Ouellette to transfer Jesus to Chicago, and we know they won’t act in our favor unless the community is constantly pressuring them.”
Mijente has also started a petition to show their support for Lopez Gutierrez.
“As the youngest member of his nuclear family, Jesus contributes the majority of his wages to ensure his family’s financial stability,” Mijente stated on their website. “He is in charge of providing care and physical support for his aging parents, both diagnosed with diabetes and his elderly grandmother, who requires constant care and assistance. Jesus would spend most of his days working but, in his free time, he likes to go running in the neighborhood park and enjoys camping trips with his friends. Since his detention in May, Beto’s family and community launched a campaign to stop his deportation, but by September, the immigration judge overseeing his case ordered his removal. But Beto is not giving up, with the support of his legal team he decided to sue the agencies that are keeping him locked up and away from his family.”
Mijente adds that the ICE detention in Minnesota, which is where Lopez Gutierrez is being detained, has the jurisdiction to release him.
“ICE’s top officials in Minnesota have the authority to release Jesus from detention so that he has the opportunity to apply for DACA. Sign the petition to demand Minnesota ICE Field Director Peter Berg to release Jesus Lopez immediately from Freeborn County Jail in Minnesota on his own recognizance and allow him to proceed with his DACA renewal process.”