Things That Matter

This Yale Student Is Fighting To Free Her Dad From ICE Detainment

#FreeMelecio: Viviana Speaks Out

ATTN: VIDEO RELEASE + PETITION PUSHViviana speaks out on #FreeMelecioTomorrow morning, Viviana and her legal team will be submitting an official request for Melecio’s stay of removal along with the petition (tinyurl.com/Free-Melecio). WE NEED AS MANY SIGNATURES AS POSSIBLE, ASAP. Please share this video in all of your networks and heavily plug the petition. Also, KEEP THE PHONE CALLS TO ICE COMING (see: https://goo.gl/2ig94u for instructions). Let’s win this! #Not1More #NiUnaMasThank you to Amani Hill Sebi Medina-Tayac, Athena Wheaton, & Andrew Schmidt for all of their help compiling this video. Much love.

Posted by Free Melecio on Sunday, October 15, 2017

Viviana Morales is fighting to save her father, Melecio, from deportation. It all happened because Morales, a student at Yale, wanted to petition for her father to obtain permanent residency in the U.S.

According to the family’s GoFundMe page, when Morales went with her father Melecio to a Denver court to petition for his residency, court officials prohibited Viviana from going inside the room with her father. Morales says she was told her father had been recommended for approval so there was no need for her to go inside with him.

The GoFundMe page says court officials mislead Morales: “Twenty minutes later, Melecio’s lawyer informed Viviana that her father had been aggressively removed from the room. She was not allowed to speak to her father until ICE arrived on the premises. When ICE entered, they aggressively pushed Melecio’s lawyer and interpreter out of the room, and said that they had an expedited removal proceeding for Melecio. However, they refused to show the lawyer proof.”

Viviana and her siblings have been without their father since October 12.

Facebook/Free Melecio

“This has been a traumatic experience for my father” the 22-year-old told WTNH news. “This has been his worst nightmare since he entered.”

The GoFundme page goes on to state that Melecio has worked in Denver ever since he moved to the U.S. in 1998.

“He has spent his time here working in construction: from the Denver Coliseum, the Denver Airport, to the booming housing market he’s helped Colorado grow. He has no criminal record, and his children are all U.S. citizens.”

Hans Meyer, Melecio’s immigration attorney, told the Denver Post that Melecio was detained because he was stopped in 1991 at the border in Texas. He was deported in 1997, and he returned to the U.S. “undetected” in 1998.

On Oct. 17, Viviana’s Yale classmates protested to call for the release of Melecio.

“Viviana is one of my very close friends, someone who has really changed the way I approach school, the way that I interact with people and this has deeply affected her so it deeply affected me as well,” Fernando Rojas, a Yale junior, told WTNH News.

“I applaud the many students and faculty who have rallied to help Viviana’s family, and I’m grateful that Dean Galvez has made La Casa a base headquarters for their efforts,” Yale College Dean Marvin Chun told the Yale Daily News. “President Salovey has directed me to ensure that Viviana is receiving support, including legal counsel and other forms of assistance. University officers are in active communication about the situation, and our thoughts are with Viviana, her father Melecio Andazola Morales, her family, and her numerous friends”

Yale students aren’t the only ones fighting to free Melecio. Universities across the country have rallied to support Viviana and her family.

Posted by Free Melecio on Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Posted by Free Melecio on Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Posted by Free Melecio on Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Posted by Free Melecio on Tuesday, October 17, 2017

“I’m begging and asking ICE to release my dad and grant him a stay of removal. But I also think they should think deeply about what they are doing. Are they really doing this out of national safety concerns or is there a different political agenda that they’re trying to push?” Viviana told WTNH.

Supporters of Melecio are urging people to call ICE to grant the stay.

CALL TO ACTION: PHONEBANKINGNow that Melecio's attorney has filed a request for stay of removal, we need to put…

Posted by Free Melecio on Friday, October 20, 2017

Click here if you’d like to donate to Melecio’s GoFundme.

READ: The Department Of Homeland Security Will Be Reviewing Social Media Accounts Of Immigrants, Green Card Holders And Naturalized Citizens

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Rite Aid Refused To Give Undocumented Residents The COVID-19 Vaccine Even Though They’re Eligible

Things That Matter

Rite Aid Refused To Give Undocumented Residents The COVID-19 Vaccine Even Though They’re Eligible

As the United States ramps up its vaccination program (with more than two million people getting vaccinated each day), many Americans are eager to get that jab in the arm. But who is eligible varies from state to state and sometimes even county to county.

Despite the different eligibility thresholds in each state (depending on age group or risk factors), there is no immigration requirement whatsoever at the federal, state or local level. However, not all places are following that guideline and some undocumented residents are being incorrectly turned away.

The pharmacy chain Rite Aid is apologizing after two undocumented residents were denied vaccines.

The giant pharmacy chain Rite Aid has apologized to two undocumented immigrants who the company said were “mistakenly” denied COVID-19 vaccinations at Southern California stores. However, since then, the two women have been invited back by Rite Aid to get their vaccinations and the chain has issued an apology.

Rite Aid spokesperson Christopher Savarese described both cases as “isolated” incidents resulting from workers at the stores not following established protocols for vaccine eligibility. The employees will be re-educated on the protocols to make sure everyone is on the same page.

In a statement later sent to ABC News, Rite Aid officials said, “In such an unprecedented rollout, there are going to be mistakes and there will be always areas for providers to improve — we’re seeking out those opportunities every day.”

Savarese added, “This is very important to us that this is corrected. Both of the situations that we’re talking about have been resolved, and both of those people will be getting their vaccine at Rite Aid.”

To clarify, just who is eligible for the vaccine at this moment?

Although vaccine eligibility does vary from state to state, even county to county, there is nothing requiring that someone prove their immigration status to receive a vaccine. Rep. Tony Cárdenas, who represents Los Angeles, told ABC News that the legal immigration status of a person is not supposed to interfere with them getting vaccinated.

“That is not a requirement whatsoever at the federal, state or local level, and that organization (Rite Aid) has been told very clearly that that was wrong, and they immediately apologized for doing so, but it left the woman very distraught,” Cárdenas told KABC of Rager’s employee.

On Feb. 1, the federal Department of Homeland Security issued a statement that the agency and its “federal government partners fully support equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants.”

“It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that all individuals residing in the United States have access to the vaccine. DHS encourages all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines,” the DHS statement reads.

However, the confusion over whether undocumented immigrants qualify to receive vaccine has continued to occur not only in Southern California, but elsewhere in the country. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley issued an apology to at least 14 people who were rejected Feb. 20 at its vaccination site because they could not provide proof of U.S. residency.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Things That Matter

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Lawyers are working hard to get a deportation order removed against a woman who just left a church sanctuary after three years in the refuge. Although she was previously denied asylum in the U.S., advocates are hoping that under new direction from the Biden administration, her case will be reviewed and she’ll be able to stay with her family in Ohio – where she’s lived for more than twenty years.

A mother of three is back with her family after living three years inside a church.

A mother of three who sought refugee inside an Ohio church from immigration authorities has finally been able to leave three years later. Edith Espinal, who herself is an immigrant rights advocate, had been living at the Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2017 to avoid being deported to Mexico. She’s now out of the church and back with her family following a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who have agreed that she’s not an immediate priority for deportation.

“Finally, I can go home,” Espinal told reporters after meeting with the officials. With tears of relief, she celebrated the small victory in the presence of dozens of supporters who accompanied her to the ICE building.

“But it is not the end of her case. We’re still going to have to fight,” her attorney Lizbeth Mateo said.

ICE has agreed to hold off on her deportation proceedings pending her asylum request.

Espinal was released under an order of supervision, meaning that while she’s not considered an immediate priority for deportation, she must periodically check in with ICE officials to inform them about her whereabouts.

She has lived in Columbus for more than two decades and had previously applied for asylum, citing rising violence in her home state of Michoacán. But she eventually was ordered to leave the country, which is when she sought refuge inside the Columbus, Ohio church.

“We’re going to continue pressing the Biden administration to do the right thing, and try to get rid of that order of deportation against Edith, so she can walk freely like everyone else does without fear,” Mateo said during the press conference.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com