October 21, 2014 Familia Latina Unida started on their journey home to Chicago with heavy hearts as they were forced to leave behind Juan Garcia, Rosa Ruiz Jimenez and Esther Escalante due to the lack of response from ICE on their requests for humanitarian parole.
The rescue mission began on Wednesday October 15 when the US citizen children and spouses traveled to Laredo, Texas and then Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to join with Juan, Rosa and Esther before they turned themselves over to border patrol. On Friday October 17, the team moved to the border and the three were apprehended, detained and eventually moved to ICE after being processed. Everything during the crossing went smoothly and then they waited.
Now it is Tuesday and ICE is still unresponsive to their cases. Attorney John Antia has been in constant contact with authorities and Familia Latina Unida has held several press conferences and maintained their faith and prayers. However, we leave Laredo wishing we can take these US citizen children’s parents home with us to Chicago where they belong and where they will be able to live in safety and dignity as a unified family.
The fight for these three individuals will continue and we have full faith that they will soon be reunited. But the wait and the anxiety produced from this indecision have anguished these children and filled them with dread. Ideally, we would be able to stay until there is a decision but the children need to return to school and the spouses need to return to work. There simply are no means to stay here indefinitely. We will not stop putting pressure on ICE for justice for these families. Until they are reunified, these chilldren and their families in Chicago will be tortured by this indecision.
Upon returning to Chicago, Familia Latina Unida will hold a press conference at the Tornado Bus Station at 3am Thursday morning. Later that evening, Familia Latina Unida will travel to Washington DC to meet with national leaders and hold a press conference in front of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters. As the cases of Juan, Esther and Rosa show, these injustices continue to plague the almost 3 million families who have been affected by deportation under the current administration. And since President Obama has delayed executive action in the form of DACA for all once again due to pressure from high ranking Democratic Congressmen and Senators, it will be the final ultimatum given by the Latino/immigrant community. If there is no generous and broad relief by November 27 (Thanksgiving) then we will draft Congressman Luis Gutierrez as an independent candidate for 2016. Our community cannot wait any longer.