Update [12/23/11]: Huge progress! Earlier this week, Hector was released on Humanitarian Parole! While he will still be fighting deportation - and will be wearing an ICE-issued ankle monitoring bracelet - Hilda is thrilled he will be home for the holidays. Hilda says, Miguelito, [Hector's grandson, who is pictured] didn't even want to go to daycare because he didn't want to leave Hector's side". We will keep the petition open, as Hilda is unsure what the current terms of his release are and he is still facing deportation, but this is huge progress. Hilda sends heartfelt thanks and blessings to the over 20,000 of you who supported her family and pushed for Hector's release!
Hector Ortega-Valladares is a cancer survivor. He underwent surgery to remove a malignant mass and for about two years he underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatment. As a result of the toxic cancer treatment, he now suffers from after-effects, such as chemo/foggy brain, sterility, brittle bones, etc.
On October 2004 in Honduras, he suffered an aggravated assault for his political views from supporters of an opposing political party, which is now the party in power after the 2009 presidential coup in Honduras. There were relatives of a police officer involved in the attack. He suffered broken ribs, kidney damage, a head contusion, and facial injuries. It took him two months of convalescence to partially recover. Consequently, though Hector did file a police report, no arrests were made; instead, he got death threats. As soon as he felt strong enough, he fled his country in fear of losing his life, seeing that his government was unwilling to protect him.
On February 2005, after a month of traveling across three countries, he crossed the Mexico-U.S. Border in Texas. He was arrested but wasn’t asked if he was afraid to return to his country and he didn’t know that he could have petitioned for asylum. Two days later, he was given a Notice to Appear written in English with a court date and location “to be set at a future date.” He then got released with ICE's knowledge that Hector’s relative lived in California and that, in order to escape poverty and homelessness in Texas, Hector intended to travel to and live in California.
He started working up to two construction jobs a day to support his two children left behind in Honduras; to pay pending debts back home, and to support himself. He does basic construction work but is also very skilled and creative. He was very sought after for employment because of the unique designs that he would create in making waterfalls, designer pools, sauna rooms, and any architectural designs his bosses would ask him to do. He dealt with the fear of cancer recurrence, he kept suffering on and off the side effects of the chemo and radiation treatment but without medical insurance he just had to grin and bear it or take unpaid sick days when the pain was severe enough.
On October 2005, he met Hilda, a single mother of two. She is a United States citizen who works as a Medical Assistant. They were planning on buying a home and getting married on December, 2011, even though She has multiple chronic debilitating medical conditions he stayed with her in order to provide for her and her children the moral and financial support they need, He has been a good influence on Her U.S. Citizen children, the youngest will be graduating High school in 2013, the oldest is a single mother of a 4 year old boy the only father figure that boy has known is Hector.
On June 12, 2011 he got stopped for driving without a license in San Fernando, California, though his truck did have insurance. He got arrested, and on 06/14/11, ICE went to pick him up stating that he had a 04/21/05 deportation in absentia order issued in San Antonio, Texas. The news caught him and his new family by surprise. On 07/04/11, he fell down while in ICE custody. He fractured his left elbow which is his dominant arm (the fracture probably a result of the brittle bones from the Chemo), and despite requests from his Lawyer to ICE for Humanitarian release, he spent six months and one week at the Musick Jail in Irvine, California with inadequate medical care. As a result, his left arm is now shorter than the right one, in addition he was a victim of a violent attack while in custody.
He has such a peaceful, helpful, generous, happy personality despite all the setbacks he's encountered. He is a people magnet, He has the gift of healing and he can't' say not to a friend in need.
On 12/02/2011 Hector and Hilda got married in Irvine, California.
An appeal for the denial of the Asylum petition is currently pending.
After spending six months and one week in jail Hector got supervised release on 12/20/11, we are very grateful for it but would like to ask ICE to remove the monitoring requirements and to stop Hector's deportation altogether, a petition for his legal residence has been submitted and a response from USCIS is pending.
Hector is grateful to this Country for allowing him to live a peaceful life, to be a productive member of society and to help raise responsible, educated, respectful children. He is sorry for any mistakes he may have made during this process it was never his intention to disrespect the Courts. He asks for compassion from the pertinent Officials.
We humbly urge you to sign the petition as a show of support for Hector's cause.
Please invite your friends to join us in requesting the complete freedom of this responsible, friendly, well respected, God fearing family man, by also calling:
DHS MESSAGE LINE (202)282-8495
JEH C. JOHNSON (202)282-8000
ICE MESSAGE LINE (202)732-3000
JOHN SANDWEG (202)732-3100
CONGRESSMAN BRAD SHERMAN (202)225-5911
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER (202)224-3553
SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (202)224-3841
FOR DIRECT COMMENTS (202)456-1111
TO LEAVE A MESSAGE (202)456-1414
CARLOS ODIO, STAFF FOR PRES. OBAMA AT THE WHITE HOUSE. (202) 503-5712
Hilda Penuelas started this petition with a single signature, and now has 25,532 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.