The charges have been dropped!

Great news! The charges against Liz and Jesse have been dropped!  Jesse and Liz were arrested while attempting to deliver toys at an orphanage for immigrant kids on July 1st.  They were facing up to 6 months in prison.  But thanks to community support and pro bono legal help, the judge has dropped the charges!

Here’s a statement from Jesse:
“Thank you to everyone for your support, getting the charges dropped definitely played a strong role in my peace of mind. I recognize I’ve been very lucky in having the kind of support that all those accused of a crime deserve, and so infrequently are granted. I hope that we can put together enough pressure to force more political officials to acknowledge the absurdities (and far worse) in our treatment of immigrants, and force an acknowledgement of our shared humanity. They deserve nothing less than all the rights of a citizen, and we wound our own society with each person we turn away or lock up instead of inviting in.”

Here’s a quick statement from Liz:
“Thank you to all of you for your support.  Please continue to supportSolidaridad con Los Niños in our work for separated children and all incarcerated immigrants.  Please support Freedom for Immigrants as well in support of bail and bond for ICE detainees at the Richmond jail.”

A huge thanks to Emily Rose, an attorney with Dan Siegel’s office, who took on the case while Dan is out of town.  Emily Rose was able to get the judge to drop the charges out of court–this all came about yesterday afternoon, so wow! A big, big thanks to Emily Rose for her amazing pro bono legal work, and also to Mr. Siegel and Mr. Walter Riley, the attorneys who stepped up and were ready to take on the case.

But really, it wouldn’t have been so easy to have the charges dropped like this if not for this community support, so THANK YOU!  The fact that hundreds of people were prepared to pack the courtroom on Liz and Jesse’s behalf made all the difference! This is a wonderful learning experience for our future work with helping immigrants.  What would happen if we had court support like this for each and every ICE detainee?

What’s happening with the kids who were separated from their parents at the border?

In the meantime, over the last few days, we’ve learned:

There are still over 10,000 immigrant kids in US custody, many of them orphans who showed up at the border unaccompanied.  They are being kept in private prison-like orphanages where, we are learning, they are sometimes forcibly drugged and sexually abused.  Often these facilities do everything “in house” and the kids aren’t granted the ability to go to school, join sports teams, or connect with the community.  It sounds a like like growing up in prison.  These facilities are scattered around the United States, and include the BCFS lock-down orphanage in Fairfield where Liz and Jesse were arrested.  These places are a likely destination for the 463 migrant kids whose parents were deported end up.

Following Liz and Jesse’s arrest, we got a short email from the Fairfeild BCFS facility with instructures on how to become a registered visitor/volunteer, and Liz has contacted them to try to begin the process, but no one has returned her queries.  It is certainly frustrating to see our effects to connect with these kids being stonewalled like this.  Likewise, the Fairfield BCFS facility has continued to bar elected officials from entering.

Ready to stand in Solidarity with the kids?

Right now, the future of Solidaridad con los niños is uncertain.  We don’t have any future events planned, and I’ve moved away from the Bay Area and am no longer available to plan meetings and caravans.  Those who wish to determine the future of this project to stand in solidarity with the kids are encouraged to join the email listserv, which will allow you all to communicate directly with each other to plan things:

To sign up for the Solidaridad con los niños listserv:
1) Go to https://lists.aktivix.org/mailman/listinfo/solidaridadconlosninos
2) Enter your email address and create a password
3) Click “submit”
4) Go to your inbox and find the confirmation email
5) Open the email and click the confirmation link

The Richmond ICE Bail Project: Keeping Families Together
In her statement above, Liz mentioned the group Freedom for Immigrants.  They are a nonprofit working to raise funds to help bail out the 169 people still being held in Richmond ICE before the facility is shut down for good.  On Wednesday, they were able to bail out Jasiel, a 32-year-old father and resident of Marina, who was reunited with his wife Almadelia, 9-year-old daughter, and 7-year-old son.  Here’s a link to help you learn more about how you can help with this project to reunite everyone being held in Richmond ICE with their families: goo.gl/mkwxxt

Again, amazing work everyone, showing community support and helping the charges get dropped against Jesse and Liz!  Thank you all!

Let’s keep this momentum up and keep doing all we can to help support the families who have been separated, detained, and interned.

Love and solidarity with the kids,

Hayley

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