A year ago we were appalled when a tight-knit, loving family from our community were suddenly apprehended, thrown into a jail, separated and placed in solitary confinement where they spent six days in what was to be the prelude to their removal from the United States. Until then, many of us were totally unaware of the hardship of thousands of hard-working people who are undocumented and live in fear of deportation. Documented or not, the members of this family were members of our community who contributed in various ways and were deeply loved. As the news of their incarceration and imminent deportation spread from home to home, we came together in our neighborhoods, churches and online. Then the news spread to others across Montgomery College, where Jorge Steven Acuña was an outstanding student, and to the general public. Understanding our despair, hundreds of people who did not even know the Acuña’s, expressed their solidarity and their desire to help us. Thus a campaign to stop the deportation of the Acunas arose and grew straight from the people, straight from our sense of fairness and loss. As a result of our calls and petitions, the Montgomery County Council passed a unanimous resolution calling for the Acuñas' release; Congressman Van Hollen joined our call and six days after their arrest by ICE, the Acuña’s were released. A rally of 500 people, that had been planned as a protest, became a wonderful celebration in downtown Rockville, Maryland. Since then, our feelings for the Acuñas have only grown stronger. Through them we have come to understand that our immigration system is broken and that we want it to be fixed. We want to have a system that allows for good people who contribute to our community to be able to remain in the United States without fear. We were, for this reason, happy to see that the DACA program was launched. We were even happier to see that there is finally bi-partisan movement among our Congressional leaders, to achieve immigration reform. The latter is what we need because, as we came to understand through the Acuñas' suffering, DREAMers need their parents. People need their families and we as a community need good families like the Acunas.
Therefore, upon the proximate expiration of the one year Stay of Removal that was granted to the Acuñas, we the undersigning are calling for an extension of this reprieve for Blanca Susana and Jorge Acuña, parents of the now-DACA-eligible young, Jorge Steven Acuña. We support immigration reform and know that it is forthcoming. In the meantime we ask: DO NOT DEPORT OUR GOOD FRIENDS, PARENTS AND NEIGHBORS!
- Director of U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement
John T. Morton
Prevent the separation of DREAMer Families
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