Reunite Maíra with her Family
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Dear Judge Rosche,
We, as a network of the 17 largest faith denominations in central Indiana, write you today in support of Maíra Bordonave. Maíra is a beloved member of the faith community in Indianapolis. She has been an active member of St. Gabriel Catholic Church for many years, prominently participating both in its ongoing religious activities and additionally serving as an advocate for its affiliated Catholic school. There is no question about Maíra being an important fixture in her parish. She is charitable to a fault and has always given of her time to help others. As a result, she is cherished and loved.
We also know Maíra to be a caring and attentive mother, active in her children’s lives and in their school progress. Maíra is also an ambitious and hard-working student interested in bettering both herself and the situation of her family. Since coming to this country as a teenager -- approximately 17 years ago --Maíra has matured, married, begun to raise a family, learned English, graduated from high school, and, indeed, was attending university-level classes at IVY Tech, a local vocational school, before being detained by ICE. Her family has been paying the cost of her education, as they have never wished to impose a financial burden on others in our community. It is also worth mentioning that Maíra and her husband have begun purchasing their home in Indianapolis. According to her husband Luis, they have never missed a payment.
Since she was detained last month, Maíra’s absence has been deeply felt. The pew at St. Gabriel that she regularly occupied -- on a near daily basis for many years -- is now vacant and empty. Indeed, Maíra was detained by ICE on a Friday morning in her car after dropping her kids off at school and on her way home after attending mass. Maíra is profoundly missed by the parishioners of St. Gabriel. Worse, her daughter of 7 years and her son of 13, both U.S. citizens, deeply miss her too. Almost every day, they write her cards and letters and send them to the Pulaski County Jail where Maíra is now detained – a location nearly 5 hours by car from Indianapolis. Maíra’s children are now having to carry a burden much too heavy for their age. Her son, Luis, has been particularly affected by her absence. He reports being unable to concentrate on his schoolwork and has been deeply affected by the psychic trauma that has been occasioned by his mother’s absence. Maíra’s husband, Luis, a Legal Permanent Resident of this country with a pending naturalization application, is doing his best to cope, but he too is very worried about the family’s future. Privately he is often tearful and has certainly been shaken. He continues to work at his full-time supervisory position at Harlan Bakeries. He has been trying his best to mind the children; buoy Maíra’s spirits; and hold their family together. However, we know for a fact that his separation from Maíra has been very hard for him. As he has told one of our leaders, "If [those who detained her] only knew her, they would see how wonderful, caring and strong she is; they never would have taken her away from us. This is not just separating a family; it's damaging our souls to be apart."
While we understand the reason for Maíra’s present detention, it also bears saying that her 17 year life inside this country has been entirely exemplary. She has no criminal record whatsoever – not even a traffic conviction. She poses no threat to the community and, given her history and rootedness here , she certainly is no flight risk. She, her husband, and their two beautiful children are very solidly placed. The couple are buying their home. They have paid taxes. And Maíra has proven herself to be a valued and integral part of her parish and this city.
It is also our understanding that Maíra has been seen by the Chicago Asylum Office and, following an extensive interview, was found to have reasonable grounds to fear returning to her country of origin owing to threats, kidnapping, physical abuse, and extortion directed at members of her family. Maíra greatly fears exposing herself and her children to these horrors. We believe Maíra merits the opportunity to be with her family, who desperately needs her, while being afforded the opportunity to thoroughly present the merits of her asylum case. We therefore urge you to consider granting Maíra a reasonable bond so as to enable her to rejoin her family during the pendency of her asylum application.
Indianapolis Congregation Action Network (IndyCAN)
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