Things That Matter

A Church Community In North Carolina Blocked ICE From Taking An Undocumented Father, 27 Of Them Were Arrested

Cleve May / Facebook

For 11 months Samuel Oliver-Bruno remained in seclusion at the CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham, North Carolina. The basement inside the church was his sanctuary home for almost a year, and the congregation became his family. They all rallied to help the 47-year-old undocumented husband and father remain in the country despite the fact that immigration officials wanted him. This week, things took a dark turn in Oliver-Bruno’s story when reporting for a scheduled meeting with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

On Nov. 23, Samuel Oliver-Bruno was told to meet with immigration officials for a routine appointment in order for them to get his finger prints and to discuss a petition for a delay in his deportation.

Today Samuel Oliver Bruno, acting in full compliance with our immigration laws, went to the USCIS office for a biometrics appointment, which is a required component of the process in which he is requesting a deferred action status on his order for deportation. Lots of us or standing with Samuel as a sign of solidarity, and as witnesses if ICE were to abuse its power an exploit this situation of due process in order to detain Samuel.

Posted by Cleve May on Friday, November 23, 2018

The undocumented father in North Carolina was the victim of a coordinated effort by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that we have seen before. There has been an increase of undocumented people arriving to scheduled appointments on their immigration cases and being apprehended by ICE agents waiting for them.

Supporters of Oliver-Bruno knew the risk, which is why members of the congregation went with him to his meeting to protect him from being detained. In the video above, Oliver-Bruno tells his supporters and family that all they can do is pray and leave it up to God.

When Oliver-Bruno went inside the building, just minutes later, agents dressed in plainclothes arrested him, according to CNN.

CREDIT: Facebook.com/cleve.may

In a joint statement Congressman David Price (D-N.C.) and Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) called Oliver-Bruno’s arrest entrapment.

“We are extremely alarmed by Samuel Oliver-Bruno’s abrupt arrest this morning by ICE agents at the USCIS office in Morrisville, N.C. Mr. Oliver-Bruno has lived in the United States for more than two decades and has spent the last year living in sanctuary in Durham,” they said in a press release. “It appears ICE has acted in concert with officials at USCIS, who instructed Mr. Oliver-Bruno to appear at local USCIS offices to discuss his deferred deportation. He was then apprehended by plainclothes ICE agents upon entering the building. At best, Mr. Oliver-Bruno was presented with a catch-22 dilemma; at worst, he was entrapped. It’s clear that while Mr. Oliver-Bruno was attempting to follow the law in pursuit of his legal petition, ICE coordinated with USCIS to target him upon his leaving the CityWell United Methodist Church.

Members of the congregation were prepared to get arrested in their support of Oliver-Bruno and blocked the van from leaving the premises.

CREDIT: Facebook.com/AlertaMigratoria

“Who’s willing to get arrested if it comes down to that?” Pastor Cleve May asked two dozen members on Friday morning, according to the Washington Post. Without hesitation they motioned they would. “We told the police chief, ‘We understand this is your job, but we need you to understand that as a matter of conviction we cannot move, and you will have to arrest us,'” May recounted to the Post.

Police ended up arresting 27 people.

CREDIT: Twitter/@Damon_Elliot

In regards to the arrests, the Morrisville Police Department released the following statement: “At approximately 9:15 this morning, Morrisville Police Officers responded to the report of a large crowd that had formed to keep Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from leaving with an arrestee. Officers arrived on scene and were able to confirm that ICE agents had made an arrest per a Federal arrest warrant but were not being allowed to leave. Morrisville Police Officers, in effort to de-escalate the situation and negotiate a peaceful resolution, began the process of communicating with identified leaders within the crowd of people.

The crowd, although peaceful, refused to allow the passage of the ICE vehicle. Over the period of 30 minutes, Morrisville officers issued two orders to disperse, or the crowd would be arrested for obstruction. Officers arrested 27 people without incident or injury.

The Morrisville Police Department did not participate in the active arrest of Mr. Samuel Oliver-Bruno. Officers were called to the scene after the initial arrest had been made. The Morrisville Police Department did not have prior knowledge of plans to arrest Mr. Oliver-Bruno.”

Since Oliver-Bruno’s detainment, members of the church and his supporters continue to seek his release.

CREDIT: Facebook/WRAL Sarah Krueger

The picture above shows members of the church praying over Oliver-Bruno’s son, 19-year-old Daniel Oliver-Perez. Daniel is also one of those that was arrested and is now facing “charges of assaulting a government official” as he attempted to hold his dad as they were taking him away, the Post reports.

Over the past few months Oliver-Bruno has become a integral member of the church and its community.

CREDIT: Twitter/@chriskarnadi

Before he was detained Oliver-Bruno, who’s been living in the U.S. for more than 20 years, said in a video posted on Facebook: “As I continue cooped up, sometimes I feel the need to be free. I need to work, do the activities I used to do, to afford medicines for my wife and doctor’s appointments. I need to work to support her and my son.”

The News & Observer reports that federal agents have agreed to hear his case, though he faces deportation at any moment.

If you would like to support the release of Oliver-Bruno. Here’s how you can help:

CREDIT: Facebook/From Wherever You Are #FreeSamuel

READ: Immigration Agents Launch Tear Gas Canisters At Asylum Seekers At US-Mexico Border

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It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

Things That Matter

It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

When discussing today’s volatile state of our country, the racism, the violence, the injustice, people often say “it’s never been this bad.”

How do we truly know for sure that something we are experiencing today, as a minority, as Latinos, is something, unlike anything previous generations have experienced before. We certainly cannot tell from history books mainly because history books often omit the Latino experience altogether. We sometimes only have oral histories to rely on. The stories elder Latinos share with us about what life was like in the past, before social media, before cell phones, and before the media ever reported about injustices against our community. 

Those special individuals are typically our grandparents, tias, la vecina, and more importantly activists that continue to fight for the cause today. Recently presidential candidate, Julian Castro said that he stands on his important platforms today primarily because of his mother Rosie. 

As a lifelong Texan, Rosie said the racism in 2019 is more evil than anything she has ever seen.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

In an interview with NBC News, Rosie who’s not only grown up in Texas but has also worked her adult life as an activist for Latinos said that she knows racism well because she has lived through it her entire life but what is happening today is extremely different from the past. 

“When I was in the movement, I knew the racism was out there and it was institutional. This kind of racism is different,” she said to the network. “That rhetoric has gone on for three years now, and I think we’ve all seen the rise of the hate groups and then even the rise of just ordinary people in a store that feel empowered to say something to a person who is speaking Spanish or is dark-skinned.”

Rosie said the racist words from President Donald Trump has single-handly inspired white supremacists to target Latinos. 

Credit: Twitter/@thehill

She said he is the catalyst to our current crisis.

Rosie said that when Trump first got elected she immediately felt like she was back in time, as if it were the ’60s all over again, but adds that this time it feels much worse. She said back then, President Nixon and California Governor Ronald Reagan had a campaign against Latinos too. However, it does not compare to the injustices against Latinos today. She points out that Trump claims to be a Christian yet can spew such vile words. “He’s just allowed that to become a blatant racist part of our reality,” Rosie said. 

As a former community organizer in the ’60s and ’70s, Rosie said Latinos had a mission to work at making the country a better place.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

Now, Rosie said that Latinos are fighting for their lives. She also attributes a huge difference between then now on gun violence. Children today are afraid to go to school because mass shootings happen so frequently. 

Her son has always had a strong position against guns. He has spoken about it extensively during his presidential campaigning. Julian has said he will push for renewing the assault weapons ban, as well as limiting high-capacity magazines and, naturally, requiring background checks.

One thing that is inspiring Rosie — aside from her son running for president — is that so many organizations today are rising up to fight for equality and against racism.

Credit: Instagram/@denisemhdz

Rosie said the organizations she sees today does remind her of her time as an activist back in the day. While the injustices and crimes against Latinos is a stark difference, one thing that feels familiar is the energy from young Latinos rising together. 

Rosie has long been credited for influencing her sons’ work as public servants, to fight for Latinos and all people in the U.S. 

Credit: Instagram/@truth_purpose

Both Julian and Joaquin had attributed their rise in politics to their mother. It was her work as an activist and in education that made them both want to strive to make the United States a better place to live. 

In 2012, Julian gave his now-famous keynote address at the Democratic National Convention where he introduced then-President Barack Obama. In a few words, Julian not only paid tribute to the women in his life but also the American Dream that they worked so hard for. 

“My grandmother never owned a house,” Julian said back then. “She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”

It is because of women like Rosie that we have a platform to stand on as well. 

READ: Julián Castro Walked Onstage To Selena, Struggles With Spanish, And Other Ways He Lives The Latino Experience On The Campaign Trail

A Breastfeeding Mother Being Held By ICE Says That She Hasn’t Been Allowed To Breastfeed Her Daughter In Days

Things That Matter

A Breastfeeding Mother Being Held By ICE Says That She Hasn’t Been Allowed To Breastfeed Her Daughter In Days

screenshot / clarionledger.com

At this point, we sound like a broken record talking about the Trump administration’s immigration policies and the traumatizing effects such policies have on migrants traveling to the U.S. seeking a better life. Every week brings either gun violence against communities of color (made easier under the influence of Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric against these same communities), more cases of ICE raids throughout the country, and even more cases of families being separated at the border. 

The most inhumane part of all of this continues to be the ways the Trump administration completely disregards children.

Guatemalan mother Maria Domingo-Garcia has been in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody for nearly a week. 

She’s the mother of three and has been separated from her 4-month old daughter who she still breastfeeds. Maria Domingo-Garcia ended up in detention since being picked up during an ICE raid at Koch Foods in Morton, Mississippi. She was among the 680 undocumented immigrants that were detained earlier this month. 

According to CNN, Domingo-Garcia is being held at a facility in Jena, Louisiana. The facility is nearly 200 miles from Morton. The Mississippi Clarion Ledger, who first reported the story, followed the 4-month-old baby’s father new journey in having to raise his three young children on his own, after Domingo-Garcia’s detention. However, he’s still facing his own deportation proceedings with his next court date set for 2021.  

Now, the 4-month-old baby girl is left without her breastfeeding mother. According to CNN, when a woman is breastfeeding, the body continues to produce milk and if the milk isn’t “expressed” then it could cause pain and swelling. 

According to an ICE spokesman, all detainees receive a “medical screening upon intake” and if a woman says that she’s breastfeeding or nursing, she may be released. 

However, ICE is reportedly saying that Domingo-Garcia answered “no” when she was asked this question.  

But Domingo-Garcia’s attorney’s (Ray Ybarra Maldonado and Juliana Manzanarez with Justice For Our Neighbors) are saying that “ICE is, once again, lying. She said nobody’s asked her—not even one time—if she’s been breastfeeding.” 

Dalila Reynoso, an advocate with Justice For Our Neighbors and the two attorney’s are working with the family’s immigration case. “They hope the circumstances — the age of the infant, the breastfeeding and the woman’s lack of a criminal history — could convince immigration officials to let her out on bond quickly,” according to the Clarion Ledger.

Many on social media took to condemn ICE and the administration for keeping this mother away from her month-old daughter and other children.

“The Trump administration is keeping a mother from her four-month-old baby, who is still breastfeeding, and two other children after the ICE raids in Mississippi,” one tweet read. 

2020 Democratic Presidential nominee Kamala Harris also tweeted about the abuse of human rights by our own government.

“When will it end?” the California senator tweeted.

Of course, it didn’t take long for Ivanka Trump to share a social post that was severely ill-timed and out-of-touch.

The daughter of the president posted a photo of herself with her kids on the same week the news broke. Editor-in-chief of Rewire News, Jodi Jacobson, was quick to remind her of the mother being detained in ICE custody away from her children. Ivanka’s tweet could have been a coincidence but an ill-timed one at that. 

Twitter user Juan Escalante shared the story, adding that while she’s in her father’s care—her father is fighting his own deportation as he continues to raise the rest of his children without their mother.

According to Domingo-Garcia’s attorney’s, the mother is devastated knowing she can’t properly care for or nurture her daughter. 

Domingo-Garcia, originally from Guatemala, has lived in the U.S. for over 11 years. Aside from her 4-month-old baby girl, she has two songs, ages 3 and 11.

Her lawyers told CNN that the mother is “feeling the effects of having to suddenly stop breastfeeding.” The lawyer’s report, after visiting her in detention, that she’s “really depressed” and in pain from not being able to pump or breastfeed her baby girl.

This abuse of women’s rights in ICE detention facilities isn’t new and it also isn’t the only type. Earlier this year it was reported that nearly 30 women have miscarried while detained by ICE since 2017.

While her 4-month-old daughter and 3-year-old son might not fully grasp what’s happening to their mother right now, her 11-year-old son is a lot more aware and understands that his mother is gone. According to Domingo-Garcia’s lawyer’s, the 11-year-old son has said, “I want my mom back home. I don’t understand why they’re keeping her. She didn’t do anything wrong. We need her here.”

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