Things That Matter

Colorado Man Who Spent Months In A Church To Avoid Deportation Is Detained By ICE

Arturo Hernandez Garcia was first on the radar of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2014, after he was charged with an assault. The Obama Administration attempted to deport him but he sought sanctuary at the First Unitarian Society of Denver. During his time in the church, the charges were dropped and his criminal record remained clean. Now, despite the constant assurance from the Trump Administration and the Department of Homeland Security that only those with criminal records are going to be deported, Hernandez Garcia is being taken away from his family.

Arturo Hernandez Garcia migrated to the U.S. with his wife in 1999. The couple overstayed their visas.


When Hernandez Garcia and his wife, Ana Suazameda, came to the U.S., they brought their then 3-month-old daughter, Mariana, with them. Mariana is now a DACA beneficiary who is about to graduate from high school. Since then, Hernandez Garcia and his wife had another child who is a U.S. citizen.

When Hernandez Garcia was first slated for deportation under President Obama, he found sanctuary in a church in Denver and after nine months, he was free to go since his charges for assault were dropped.


In 2014, the Obama Administration tried to deport him over assault charges but he sought refuge in the First Unitarian Society of Denver. While in his sanctuary, the charges were dropped and it was found that there was no wrongdoing. The Obama Administration then let Hernandez Garcia know that his case was downgraded and that he was no longer a priority for deportation.

Hernandez Garcia’s freedom was met with excitement and celebration in 2015, but he knew that things weren’t over yet.

“It’s not over,” Hernandez Garcia said in 2015, according to The Denver Post. “I don’t feel completely comfortable. I need more. I need legal status first.”

Despite having no criminal record and being a low-priority for deportation, Hernandez Garcia was detained by plainclothes ICE authorities who didn’t identify themselves until they had their hands on him. ICE is defending the decision to detain Hernandez Garcia.


“Hernandez Garcia has overstayed his original, six-month visa by nearly 14 years,” ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok told The Denver Post. “He has exhausted his petitions through the immigration courts and through ICE.”

ICE officials detained Hernandez Garcia while he was picking up tiles for a flooring job he was doing. Some activists are calling the detention politically motivated — not a move to improve public safety.


Suazameda told CBS Denver that the officers had their badges reversed to avoid detection and were wearing plain clothes. According to NBC, Suazameda said that she was told that the officers called to Hernandez Garcia and introduced themselves and shook his hand. When the officers confirmed they were speaking to Hernandez Garcia, they quickly arrested him. Suazameda said her brother was with Hernandez Garcia at the time but was unable to record the incident on his phone because officers confiscated it.

The arrest of Hernandez Garcia has sparked outrage from immigration activists in Colorado who already believe that ICE is increasingly going after those without criminal records.


“I don’t think anybody disagrees there should be enforcement and we need to get dangerous people off the streets,” American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado public policy director Denise Maes told The Denver Post. “But we are hearing a sense of fear, a sense of anxiety and a sense of their being targeted and distinguished from other criminals.”

You can watch Arturo’s story, reported by the Denver Post, below.


READ: President Trumps Deportation Demands Are Putting ICE And Border Patrol Into Compromising Positions

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Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

Things That Matter

Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

A recent video shared by a border patrol agent highlighted a shocking moment of smugglers literally dropping two little girls over a 14-foot high fence in the New Mexico desert. Right in the dead of night.

In the disturbing video, the smugglers can be seen climbing the fence and then dropping the two 5-year-old and 3-year-old sisters to the ground.

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez shared that the incident occurred “miles from the nearest residence.”

The two little girls (Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5) were rescued after agents spotted them during a virtual surveillance sweep. The two sisters are from Ecuador and were dumped by human smugglers at the border wall according to an official.

“[US Immigration officials] need to verify the identity of the parents and confirm they are the parents and make sure they are in good condition to receive the girls,” Magdalena Nunez, of the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston, explained to The New York Post on Thursday. “It’s a process … We’re working to make sure it’s an expedited process and the girls spend as minimal time as possible separated from their parents.”

“Hopefully it can happen soon, in a week or two, but  it can take up to six weeks. We are working to make sure sure it happens as quickly as possible,” she explained before noting that the two sisters are “doing very well.”

“We have been in contact with them and confirmed they are in good health,” Nunez shared. “Physically, they are perfect — emotionally, obviously, they went through a hard time, but I guarantee you right now they are in good health and they are conversing. They are very alert, very intelligent.”

In a statement about the incident, the Ecuadorian consulate confirmed that the two girls had been in touch with their parents, who live in New York City.

“The Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston had a dialogue with the minors and found that they are in good health and that they contacted their parents, who currently live in New York City,” explained the consulate.

In a statement from the girls’ parents sent to Telemundo, the girls’ parents had left their daughters behind at their home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador, to travel to the US. The parents of the two girls have been identified as Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar. According to the New York Post, “The girls’ grandparents have asked President Biden to reunite the children with their parents. Aguilar paid a human smuggler to take his kids to the border — though the grandparents didn’t know how much they paid.”

“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them,” paternal grandfather Lauro Vacacela explained in an interview with Univision.

It is still uncertain as to whether or not the girls’ parents are in the country legally.

Photos of the girls showed them having snacks with Agent Gloria Chavez.

“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez told Fox News. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”

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President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

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President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

January 22, 2021

The Trump administration spent years trying to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Obama-era program was important in helping young undocumented adults who came to the country when they were children. President Joe Biden has restored it.

President Joe Biden has restored DACA to its original 2012 form.

President Biden was with President Obama when DACA was passed to protect the young adults who benefit from the program. President Biden’s executive order is giving hundreds of thousands of young adults protections and the ability to work once again.

“This memorandum, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) guidance, deferred the removal of certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, have obeyed the law, and stayed in school or enlisted in the military,” reads the memorandum posted on the White House website. “DACA and associated regulations permit eligible individuals who pass a background check to request temporary relief from removal and to apply for temporary work permits. DACA reflects a judgment that these immigrants should not be a priority for removal based on humanitarian concerns and other considerations and that work authorization will enable them to support themselves and their families, and to contribute to our economy, while they remain.”

Original: During the 2020 election, Latinos were a massive electoral voting bloc. In fact, for the first time ever, the Latino vote outnumbered the Black vote. According to the Pew Research Center, there are now 32 million eligible Latino voters and that accounts for 13 percent of all eligible voters. 

And, Latinos helped deliver the presidency to Joe Biden. So it can be expected that the community has high expectations for Joe Biden to deliver on his campaign promises of immigration reform.

During a recent speech about his first 100 days in office, Joe Biden outlined his priorities once he’s sworn in on January 20th, and said he would “immediately” send an immigration bill to congress.

Joe Biden promises swift action on immigration reform as soon as he takes office.

Over the weekend, President-Elect Joe Biden promised he would take swift action when it comes to immigration reform and rolling back many of the cruel and dangerous policies put into place by the Trump administration.

“I will introduce an immigration bill immediately,” he said in a news conference on Friday.

Although he didn’t go into detail regarding the proposed legislation, he’s previously committed to ending Trump’s ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim nations, and that he wants a path to citizenship for Dreamers, and an increase in guest worker permits to help bring undocumented agricultural workers – many of whom are now considered “essential workers” – out of the shadows.

Biden had already promised an immigration overhaul within the first 100 days of his presidency but this commitment definitely increases the pressure on him and congress to get things done.

Biden also said his justice department will investigate the policy of child separation.

During the same press conference, Biden said that his Justice Department will determine responsibility for the family separation program, which led to more than 2,600 children being taken from caregivers after crossing the U.S. southern border, and whether it was criminal.

“There will be a thorough, thorough investigation of who is responsible, and whether or not the responsibility is criminal,” Biden said. That determination will be made by his attorney general-designate, Merrick Garland, he added.

During the campaign, Biden finally took responsibility for many of his administration’s immigration failures.

Nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief,” Obama deported more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history with over 3 million deportations during his time in office. 

But as part of that administration, Joe Biden is also complicit. That’s why during the campaign he seemed to acknowledge at least some of the pain the duo caused.

“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers,” Biden’s immigration plan reads. 

While Obama’s methods pale in comparison to the cruel tactics like family separation, inhumane conditions, and targeted raids, the impact the deportations have had on families is cannot be quantified.

Biden, like any Vice President, is put in the position of having to defend his president, but also himself as the future president. This isn’t a bad thing, Biden must distinguish himself from his predecessor but if the shadow of Obama’s legacy is buying him goodwill, it might be difficult to undermine that administration’s stances.

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