Week Six: Immigrant Legal Resource Center

On February 8th, Guadalupe García de Rayos, a mother of two American kids, reported to her regular check-in with ICE agents in Phoenix. She was taken into custody, separated from her children, and deported the following morning to Mexico. García de Rayos was convicted of a low-level felony in 2009 for using a fake social security number so she could work.

Jeanette Vizguerra is collecting signatures on a petition in hopes of being granted a stay of removal. The mother of three small American children, she is living in a sanctuary church in Colorado trying to avoid deportation. Jeanette and her husband fled Mexico to the U.S. in 1997 after her husband was threatened at gunpoint for the third time at his job as a bus driver. She was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2009 for having fraudulent documents used to apply for a third job. Her mother was on her death bed in 2013, so Jeannette returned to Mexico and tried to build a life there for 7 months. Unable to find sufficient paying work, Jeannette returned to the U.S. where she was detained, released to Colorado, and now rests awaiting her fate.

This week, we donated to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), a nonprofit organization that provides immigration legal trainings and resources, and engages in advocacy and civic engagement to advance immigrant rights. ILRC’s expert immigration practice manuals are used by legal service providers nationwide, who also receive case-specific consultations from attorneys at ILRC. In 2015 alone, ILRC facilitated almost 50,000 citizenship applications, saved the immigrant community over $70 million in legal and application fees, conducted well over 1,000 trainings, and distributed over 700,000 red cards empowering undocumented immigrants to exercise their rights during illegal ICE raids.

The America we love is a nation of immigrants, proud of our melting-pot heritage. The America we love doesn’t deport a mother of two American children, who has complied with ICE demands for years, when she arrives at her scheduled meeting. The America we love doesn’t stoke fear and “otherness” instead of compassion and unity. Undocumented immigrants are only trying to do what everyone is trying to do: provide a better life for their families. To read more on this issue, here are 5 immigration myths debunked: for example, undocumented immigrants DO indeed pay taxes, and our economy depends upon their hard work in thankless jobs. We believe that everyone, whether a citizen of our nation or not, deserves to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect.


{image source}