Things That Matter

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

Facebook/From Wherever You Are #FreeSamuel

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

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Fierce

AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz are at it again on Twitter. This time it’s about immigration policy. After recently traveling to the US-Mexican border to underline the recent rise in immigration, Cruz accused AOC of pushing for a “full open borders” policy.

And of course, AOC got him with some solid zingers.

AOC in turn hit back at Cruz for recently fleeing his home state of Texas during its power grid collapse to vacation in Cancún.

In response to Cruz’s attack, AOC suggested Mexico avoid allowing Cruz in the next time he attempts to vacation there. She also called on him to resign from office for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Also you funded cages, expanded cages, and yet you’re complaining about cages. You have no policy, just puff.”

Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of hypocritically attacking the current administration’s detention of migrant children at the border after they supported President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children.

Currently, Democrats like AOC are calling on Biden to impliment more liberal immigration policies.

Republicans have strongly expressed their dislike for the recent rise in migrants which has come as a result of Biden’s reversal of Trump’s most rigid border policies.

AOC is currently a co-sponsor of the Roadmap to Freedom resolution. The resolution calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a Roadmap to Freedom “in order to overhaul the outdated immigration system in the United States that has gone without significant reform for decades, and to relieve the great human impact an unjust system bears on communities around the country.”

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Things That Matter

9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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