Help us #FreeJose!
Jose is only 18 years old, but he has been in ICE custody for 17 months. In his home country, he was threatened and harassed by gang members who were trying to recruit him, which ultimately led to them shooting him in the stomach and leaving him for dead. Jose is resilient and he is a fighter. He not only survived the attack, but at only 16 he fled Guatemala on his own and made it to the US.
Unfortunately, since arriving in the U.S., Jose has suffered further injustices. Immigration authorities picked him up from the youth shelter and threw him into adult detention on the dubious belief that he was an adult. They detained him with other adult men for nearly a year. During this time, he was forced to represent himself before an immigration judge and ended up losing his case because he had no idea what was going on. In early 2018, ImmDef became aware of his plight and took his case on pro bono. After a denied BIA appeal, Jose spent another 7 months in ICE detention until we were able to get a copy of his Guatemalan brth certificate proving finally that ICE was detaining a child in an adult prison. Jose was immediately moved to a shelter for immigrant children and we filed a motion to reopen his case. Unbelievably, the BIA stalled on reopening and upon his true 18th birthday, ICE took Jose from the shelter back to an ICE prison.
Since that day in October 2018, ICE has gone as far as putting him on a bus to LAX to deport him, and ImmDef had to file our first ever habeas petition in federal court to stop his removal. Finally, earlier this year the BIA reopened his case. On April 11, 2019, we have his bond hearing, and for the first time in over 17 months, we have a chance to get him out. If he is able to make bond, Jose will be welcomed into the home of sponsors who live in Los Angeles, and he will enjoy significant community support from a wide variety of faith, community and immigrant rights groups. He looks forward to going to school, fighting his case and learning English. He was recently asked what he thought of all the people who were supporting him and he told his attorney, "I am so grateful, so happy and it makes me have faith things will be okay."
Any amount which you can donate will be a step towards freeing Jose and a step closer to helping him rebuild his life!