Stop the unfair deportation of a minor
This petition made change with 18,894 supporters!
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seems to be at war with Central American kids seeking refuge from the murderous gangs and daily violence in their home countries. Thousands of juveniles are being forced to face the broken U.S. immigration system, many without any legal representation, which often results in deportation back to the unimaginable horrors they bravely fled. Darwin Mejia is one of the minors facing this nightmare, unless ICE does the right thing.
Darwin Mejia’s story is heartbreaking. Before he was even born in El Salvador, Darwin’s dad abandoned his mother. A few years later, his mother also left him. His saving grace was his Uncle Jose, who sent him money and supported him from the U.S. In 1984, Jose fled the civil war in El Salvador for the United States, and eventually became a U.S. citizen. Afraid for his life because of the brutal, escalating gang violence that reigns in El Salvador today, Darwin decided to follow in his uncle’s footsteps.
But Darwin didn’t receive the welcome his uncle did. Instead, he was detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. When his uncle learned of Darwin’s detention, he filed for and was granted guardianship by the state of New York. This enabled Darwin to apply for a green card under Special Immigration Juvenile Status, which is available to minors like Darwin who have been neglected or abandoned.
ICE has the discretion to release Darwin to his uncle and allow the green card application process to run its course. Instead, they say they plan on deporting Darwin back to El Salvador to wait out the approval process there. ICE would rather return Darwin to the violence of El Salvador than allow him to stay and be cared for by the only family he has. This is wrong and it must be stopped.
While Darwin awaits his fate, he has reported being held in a small confinement cell with other people, with no place to sleep but the floor, no blankets, and frigid temperatures. At night, he says the lights are left on so people struggle to sleep. Even worse, his uncle learned from Darwin that he was recently driven to the airport to be deported, but was then returned to the detention facility because the consulate hadn’t issued travel papers.
Darwin is being treated like a criminal for his bravery. He deserves a chance at a future without fear and violence -- It’s a universal hope we have for all our children. ICE has the ability to make that happen. Please support this petition asking ICE to release Darwin to be with his family while his green card application is being processed.
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