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Freedom Campaigns

Estelito Free! Speaking Out!

On December 30, 2021, after more than two years of active advocacy while in immigration detention, Estelito Adiova, an immigrant from the Philippines, has successfully fought against his deportation and was released from the Imperial Regional Detention Facility in Southern California.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained Estelito after he earned parole following a 32-month prison sentence related to his addiction. While Estelito has been reunited with his family and community in the Bay Area, he has continued to use his voice and experience to help others. This month, Estelito was one of nine detained immigrants that filed a federal complaint to expose the life-endangering medical and environmental neglect inside the Imperial Detention Facility. These include toxic and unfiltered and hazardous air, contaminated drinking and washing water, and exposure to mold at the prison.

IM4HI and others in the Dignity Not Detention Coalition are seeking to close the privately-owned Imperial County detention facility which detains over 500 people and reallocate funds to investments in community health and well-being.

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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 (4/15/2021)

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Listen to Mario’s testimony:  Clip: https://fb.watch/3JnqLtmeG2/

Learn Mario’s story and Share Toolkitbit.ly/FreeMarioToolkit

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

Instructions: Dial Phone Number: 213-830-5931 or email David.a.marin@ice.dhs.gov

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 
mgortiz@im4humanintegrity.org


February 2022 Update: Mario is Free!

Mario reunited with his mother, Dina

After over a decade spent separated from his mother and family, and a one year Freedom Campaign, Mario Ramos was finally released on January 27th after enduring double punishment as a result of collaboration between prisons and immigration detention centers. In 2018, Mario completed a seven-year prison sentence after showing exceptional efforts at recovery and rehabilitation. Instead of being allowed to return home, Mario was taken immediately by ICE and held at Adelanto Detention Facility.
At Adelanto, he had to unnecessarily spend 4 more years deprived of freedom. He survived COVID while in detention, feared he would be deported, and wondered if he would ever be allowed to come home. However, Mario never allowed these setbacks to distract from the progress he sought to make. Mario admirably remained committed to self-improvement and found ways to minister and support his peers while imprisoned and detained. Mario has prevailed through years of injustice, and we are thankful he will be able to return to a life of family and freedom. Thank you to the many of you who wrote letters directly to Mario to help him stay encouraged. Some of you wrote personal support letters that were presented to the judge and others held Mario up in prayer. Every action of support was a step forward to his release. Mario and his mother Dina send you their appreciation and blessings! Today, Mario’s joy and enthusiasm are contagious, and he is ready to use his story to educate others and help end the ICE transfers that cost him 4 years of his life.

Categories
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”

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

CONTACT:

Valerie Ibarra – SF Public Defender’s Office – (628)249-7946 – Valerie.Ibarra@sfgov.org

Gala King – Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity – (510)759-4196 – GKing@im4humanintegrity.org

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