Please Stand With Joel & Jessica Guerrero
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Ask NYC ICE Field Office Director Decker To Release Joel To His Family
On February 28, 2017, Joel Guerrero, a lawful permanent resident facing deportation, went to his bi-annual check-in with ICE in New York City. Joel has been regularly checking in with ICE since 2011 and other than one missed court date in 2011, Joel has complied with all of the requirements of his release for the past six years. However, on February 28th, out of nowhere Joel was detained, taken to the Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey, and is facing imminent deportation.
The basis for Joel's deportation is a misdemeanor marijuana conviction from 13 years ago, for which Joel pled guilty, paid a fine and never served a jail sentence. Joel was never advised of the immigration consequences of his guilty plea.
Joel's wife, Jessica (a U.S. citizen) is six months pregnant and her doctor has confirmed that she is a high-risk pregnancy because of a number of risk factors including her advanced age. Since Joel was taken into custody by ICE, Jessica has lost ten pounds because of the severe anxiety and the stress of losing her husband and the father of her unborn child.
Joel came to the U.S. as a seventeen-year-old and has lived here for the past 20 years with his family, including his mother, brothers and sisters, and nieces and nephews. All of Joel's family members here in the U.S. are citizens or lawful permanent residents. Joel and Jessica also took in Joel's fifteen-year-old nephew, Ryan (also a natural born US citizen), under their wing and Joel is the child's caregiver. Since Joel and Jessica have taken custody of Ryan, he is flourishing in school, securing grades that are consistent with the level of care he is afforded by Joel and Jessica, and that demonstrate a clear departure from his performance in school prior to Joel and Jessica taking custody.
Joel's brother, Tommy is a military veteran. His unit was part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan and received the Combat Action Ribbon in 2003 for their service during that campaign.
Joel has turned his life around since that single misdemeanor marijuana conviction more than a decade ago. Joel earned his GED and completed a 7 month residential drug treatment program at Samaritan Village in June of 2016.
Joel is an active member of his community and has worked to give back to others. He has served the homeless at the Bowery in NYC, did voluntary construction work after Hurricane Sandy and volunteered in Tennessee after tornadoes devastated the region. Joel also attends church at St. Joseph's Church in New Paltz with Jessica who is a lector in their church. The church pastor has submitted a statement of support in favor of Joel's release.
Joel is a carpenter at Groves Contracting Enterprises, working 40 to 50 hours per week. He also takes on side jobs whenever he can to support his family. He accounts for 70 percent of the family's income, including the financial support he provides to his 15-year-old nephew who lives with Joel and Jessica. Jessica will not be able to financially support their newborn child if Joel is deported.
Jessica describes Joel as the love of her life and her best friend. Their first child, a little boy, is expected in a few months. Jessica describes Joel's absence from their lives as "more painful than I can put into words". Jessica shares how Joel used to play guitar and sing to their unborn son before they went to sleep. Jessica says Joel is her rock and she is praying that he will be home soon to support her through the rest of her high-risk pregnancy, and to witness the birth of his first-born child.
Joel also has the strong support of his local community and elected officials. The New Paltz City Council has submitted a letter of support for Joel in his immigration case. All across New Paltz there are signs in businesses' windows in support of Joel's return home to his wife, nephew, and soon-to-be newborn child. Senator Gillibrand has expressed her support for Joel and Jessica as have Congressman Faso, New York State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, and Ulster County Executive Mike Hien.
Please show your support for Joel and Jessica by signing and sharing this petition to ICE Field Office Director Decker asking him to release Joel while he works to remain in the country with his family.
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