Freedom Campaigns

Freedom Campaigns: Mario Ramos

What is a Freedom Campaign? A freedom campaign surrounds a person with community support to help him/her to be released from detention.  

How do we serve? We serve immigrants at the Adelanto detention facility, including asylum seekers, long term immigrant residents, some who may have former convictions, but who have fully rehabilitated and who have already served their time. All deserve a chance to go through their immigration proceedings from outside detention and to be reunited with their families and communities.

How do we support? We support immigrants by working with them and their family members to develop strategies, and support them to publicly promote their story, recruit allies and advocates from the faith community and work alongside their attorneys to gain release from detention.   

Why is this important?  We believe that all people are sacred across bars and borders and that detention is not necessary to the immigration process. Community alternatives and systems of release exist and people should not be held in detention for years or indefinitely as they seek due process. As people of faith we are called to act according to our values of  compassion, love, and restoration by welcoming immigrants and helping them to integrate successfully in our society.   

How can you help?  You can help by supporting one of our Freedom Campaigns. Learn about the persons’ story. Take action to support someone’s freedom by making a call for someone’s release, participating in prayer vigils and legislative visits. You can support by elevating one of our Freedom Campaigns stories and by helping bring some light to a case.  

Take action today below.  

Join Mario’s Freedom Campaign Team


Listen to Mario’s testimony:  Clip:

Learn Mario’s story and Share

Call or email the ICE Field Director officer David Marin and leave a message.  

Instructions: Dial Phone Number: 213-830-5931 or email

Ask to speak with the ICE Field Director David Marin and leave a message.  

Say this message: “Hello my name is _____, and I represent _____ (insert name of congregation/organization). I am calling to ask David Marin, Field Office Director to grant discretionary release to Mario Ramos # 4 AD, 105, 1 Low.  Who, is held at the Adelanto Detention Facility. After being properly released from prison, he was transferred to Adelanto without notification and this was a violation of his rights. When granted his liberation, Mr. Ramos can contribute greatly to the community because he has a Certification in water treatment and he is counselor to people dealing with addiction. Furthermore, his mother needs his support to care for her and help her financially. We ask you to use your moral authority and grant immediate release to Mr. Ramos who over 10 years has restored himself and can fight his deportation case with his lawyer and be reunited with his family.”

Our focus to call is today, but please feel free to call anytime throughout this week.

Be safe, stay healthy and take part in transforming this time into a beautiful era.

To get involved, or for more information, contact:

Maria Guadalupe Ortiz
Freedom Campaign Coordinator 
Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity IM4HI of Southern California, Inland Empire

Freedom Campaigns

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Unanimously Passes Resolution Urging Governor Newsom to Pardon Immigrant Rights Leader Charles Joseph

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 23, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO  – Last night, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution, authored by Supervisor Dean Preston and co-sponsored by every member of the Board of Supervisors, urging Governor Newsom to pardon Charles Joseph. Joseph, an immigrant rights leader, father and violence-prevention mentor who radically transformed his life while incarcerated, is facing deportation due to his past conviction. He is seeking a pardon to remain in the United States with his family in Sacramento, restore his status as a legal permanent resident, and continue contributing to his community.

“Charles Joseph’s story of transformation – both in his own life as well as his positive influence on the lives around him – is inspiring,” said Supervisor Dean Preston. “I am proud to stand with Mr. Joseph, along with my colleagues on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, in urging the Governor to grant him an immediate and full pardon.” 

Charles Joseph has been a client of the Public Defender’s Office since May 2019, but he is much more than a client. Charles has become a leader and an ally in so many different ways — he has spoken out against unsafe conditions in immigration detention facilities, has been a featured speaker in nationwide panels about mass incarceration, and even conducted a training for my staff on the impact of ICE detention,” said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju, whose Immigration Defense Unit represents Mr. Joseph in his deportation case. “We are part of the campaign to support Charles and his family because we know that he will continue to make a positive contribution in the movement for criminal justice reform as well as immigration reform.”

Charles Joseph came to the United States when he was 14 years old from Fiji, where his family faced persecution as ethnic and political minorities. His father was placed in deportation proceedings just one year later, leaving his mother to support the children. Although he always loved music, Mr. Joseph fell in with some bad influences and took part in a robbery when he was 22 years old, which sent him to prison for 12 years. 

While in prison, Mr. Joseph became a leader and peacemaker, helping others to process their anger and express their creativity. He was able to have a music mentor, country music star Lacy Dalton, who has also offered her support for his pardon. 

Upon completing his 12-year prison sentence in May 2019, rather than being released to his wife and children, he was immediately taken into custody by ICE. He spent nearly a year in the privately-run Mesa Verde immigration detention center in Bakersfield, California, until he was released in April 2020 as part of a lawsuit against ICE for its inability to protect medically-vulnerable detainees at high risk of contracting the coronavirus. Mr. Joseph suffers from asthma, and was granted release by a federal judge, but was ordered to wear an electronic ankle monitor while he awaits deportation. 

Prior to his conviction, Mr. Joseph was a legal permanent resident, but immigration judges are prevented from granting him discretionary relief because of his past conviction even though he is completely rehabilitated. This is why a large community of supporters – including several faith groups and immigrant rights organizations – are asking Governor Newsom to pardon him. A pardon will allow him to remain in the U.S. with his wife and children – who are all U.S. citizens – and protect him from the political violence he could face if forced to return to Fiji.

“I have known Charles and his family for over a year, and have witnessed his leadership through his advocacy, musical talents, and spiritual gifts, which he shares abundantly with many others,” said Reverend Deborah Lee, Executive Director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity. “Charles has used his story to illuminate how the U.S. criminal justice and immigration systems have harmed immigrant communities, and that through the power of transformation and redemption we will all be restored.”

“Judaism, like all faiths, believes in redemption,” said Rabbi Mona Alfi of Congregation B’nai Israel, a Sanctuary Synagogue in Sacramento. “Charles has atoned for his wrongdoing. I believe that people are capable of learning from their past and becoming better human beings because of the struggles they have gone through. That’s exactly what Charles has done. Now more than ever is the time for action. All of us have to raise our voices and call out to the Governor and demand a pardon for Charles Joseph.”

“It was really hard when my dad was taken away from us. It caused a lot of stress for me, my mom, and younger sister. My dad is home with us now, and we need him with us,” said Hope Joseph, the 13-year-old daughter of Charles Joseph.

“I’m overwhelmed and filled with deep appreciation for this support,” said Charles Joseph, upon learning of the vote. “I’m thankful for the leadership of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and for their work to keep families together. I am looking forward to meeting with the Sacramento City Council members in my community, continuing to share my story and gaining their support”


To learn more about the campaign to support Charles Joseph, please see this short film:


Valerie Ibarra – SF Public Defender’s Office – (628)249-7946 –

Gala King – Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity – (510)759-4196 –

Freedom Campaigns

Freedom Campaigns: Charles Joseph

Join our Freedom Campaign for Charles Joseph

  • Watch the 15-minute film Bula above, then host a screening with your community! Let us know about your screening plans in this survey.
  • Sign and share his petition:
  • Share his story and write a letter of support for Charles Joseph using this toolkit:
  • Invite Charles to speak at your faith community!

Learn More About Charles Joseph

Photo of Charles Joseph

In California, prison and ICE collaboration impacts immigrants and refugees who have served time in state prison. Instead of returning to their families, immigrants who are found suitable for parole are directly transferred into ICE detention facilities where they await deportation.

This form of double-punishment and exile is cruel and separates families. As the faith community, we are called to practice forgiveness, generosity and compassion for immigrants, and those who are incarcerated. 

One way to stop this prison-to-ICE-to-deportation pipeline is for Governor Newsom to intervene and grant pardons for Charles Joseph, Liyah Birru, and other beloved community members.

Charles Joseph is an example of one community member impacted by this prison and ICE collaboration. Charles is a father, husband, artist, musician, and Indo-Fijian leader. He came to the U.S. from Fiji as a permanent resident as a teenager. After being imprisoned at age 22, Charles transformed his life while serving his 13 year sentence by participating in violence prevention programs and developing his artistic talent. However, after winning parole, because of current policy, he was transferred directly into ICE detention and is now facing deportation.

“Charles’ story illustrates the immorality of our legal system, where his conduct as a 22 year old youth is being used to permanently deprive him of the basic right to go home, and reunite with his family and community.” says his lawyer, Francisco Ugarte, SF Public Defender

If Charles is deported to Fiji it would create more trauma for his family. His wife Shelly says, “With my husband in detention it’s already a separation, but for him to think that he may not be able to come home and the uncertainty makes it unstable for me and my family emotionally and physically. A pardon will be our last hope to finally become complete and be a family.”

UPDATE: On April 13, 2020, Charles was released from Mesa Verde Detention Center after a Federal Judge ordered ICE to release him along with three others detained who were at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 infection. Charles is currently living at home with his family in Sacramento, continuing to support the efforts to release others still detained by ICE and continuing to pursue his pardon application with Governor Newsom.

More Videos featuring Charles Joseph

Charles Joseph, and others in the Mesa Verde detention center, speak on Define American, July 16. 2020.
Charles Joseph Pardon Campaign Event held on August 30, 2020. The co-sponsors for this event included Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, Kehilla Community Synagogue, San Francisco Public Defenders, Congregation B’Nai Israel Sacramento, SacAct, All of Us Or None – Sacramento, Jewish for Voice for Peace-Sacramento, NorCal Resist, KWESI, Restore Justice, and UC Davis Asian American Studies Dept.

Charles Joseph spoke on KALW’s Uncuffed podcast on April 8, 2019.