Free Mike Foy!

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On June 8th, Mike Foy, a longtime commercial fisherman, and his crew sat outside the waters of Tortola awaiting clearance to enter the island. They needed entry to the port so the crew could have their passports stamped and to return back to Puerto Rico (which is a requirement of US Customs). Instead of receiving the clearance, Mike Foy was imprisoned in the British Virgin Islands and charged with 'illegal entry and unlicensed fishing' after being TOLD by the customs department to dock his boat in the coastal waters off the island of Tortola. Now, after more than TWO MONTHS of sitting in a sweltering jail cell, Mike's bail has been denied, his 8,000-pound catch of tuna and swordfish (valued at more than $60,000) has been confiscated, and he's facing a fine of $511,000 and 1 year of jail time.

In early July, Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, and Congressman Andy Kim wrote the following in a letter to the deputy governor of Tortola: 

“We are aware that our constituent, Michael Foy, has been detained in Tortola and have been in communication with the State Department and the [United States] Embassy in Barbados regarding the case. We will continue to closely follow Mr. Foy’s case and expect him to be treated appropriately under safe and sanitary conditions. Mr. Foy should be treated fairly, and we support a fair legal process without delay.”

But as USA Today & the Miami Herald have reported, Mike was NOT "treated appropriately" or living in "safe and sanitary conditions"...instead, cockroaches and rats have visited his cell every day, and his dinner consists mainly of bread and warm tea.

Mike, a US citizen from New Jersey who fishes out of Puerto Rico, and his crew have often stopped at Tortola (including 9 times this year) to gain customs clearance for the crew, before returning to PR to offload. The fish are then shipped mainly to the US to all reputable companies. Mike is part of the American food supply chain and his vessel is his family's livelihood. He has been fishing commercially for over 40 years. Mike is an American fisherman who's devoted to his boat, his crew, and the fishery...so why hasn't the US government pressured Tortola to release him?

Mike's trial is THREE WEEKS AWAY -- September 9th -- and he faces forfeiture of his vessel, 1 year in a Caribbean prison, and $511,000 in fines. The charges he is facing are outrageous, and he's been denied bail TWICE with no explanation from the judge. 

We need your help. Please sign our petition to pressure the United States government and to help us FREE MIKE FOY! Please share our story on your socials, and sign up to our newsletter for updates on his trial. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts...we cannot do this without you!!

--Press Links--

USA Today - "Jersey Shore Family Fighting for Return of Fisherman Jailed in British Virgin Islands"

Miami Herald - "American Fisherman Detained Entering British Virgin Islands During Coronavirus Closure"

Access Wire "American Fishermen Call on State Department to Help Captain Illegally Detained in British Virgin Islands"

BVI Beacon - "US Senators write Deputy Governor on Fisherman’s Arrest"