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