As national outrage grows in response to the separation of families at the border and inhumane conditions in detention centers, communities throughout the country are also fighting to keep local immigrant parents from being torn from their children. This week, leading up to Father’s Day, Dolores Street Community Services is teaming up with the Bay Area Immigration Bond Fund to raise money for Father’s who have been torn from their children and are in immigration detention because they cannot afford to post bond.
One such example is José: a father, who for the past eight months, has been unable to care for his daughter, who currently lives with her mom. Jose moved to the U.S. when he was 15 years old--more than two decades ago. However, skyrocketing rent forced him to choose between paying his rent and providing child support to his daughter. He chose to pay child support and had no choice but to move into his car.
After someone reported to police that he was living in his vehicle, he was taken into custody, where he was then transferred to a detention center where he remains. He was granted a $20,000 bond but raising that amount is personally out of his reach.
“All Jose wants is to provide the best life to the person he loves the most, his daughter,” said Alejandra Rosero, his pro bono attorney at the San Francisco-based Dolores Street Community Services. “Jose’s case illustrates how deeply broken our system is: if Jose is released from detention, he will have a real chance to win his case and remain with his family. But if he cannot raise the funds to pay his bond, his daughter will very likely lose the chance to grow up without her father.”
Jose is not alone. Hundreds of other parents in the Bay Area have been ripped away from their children as they fight their deportation, depriving their children of a caregiver and quite often a breadwinner. According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in just the first six months of 2017, over 12,000 immigrant parents were deported nationwide, forcing them to be separated from their children. In San Francisco, nearly 300 parents were forcibly detained and removed from their dependent children.
If a detained person cannot pay their bond, they may spend years in detention awaiting the conclusion of their proceedings. Immigrants who secure bond during their case and find legal representation are about eight times more likely to win their cases than those who remain incarcerated and unrepresented.
“As a society, we should be outraged that individuals like Jose regularly spend months, and sometimes years, in detention simply because they cannot afford to post bond,” said Judah Lakin, co-founder of the Bay Area Immigration Bond Fund. “No one should spend a single day in detention simply because they are indigent. We started the Bay Area Immigration Bond Fund to challenge a system that criminalizes, incarcerates, and disrupts the lives of our neighbors and fellow community members. And, we hope to use this Father’s Day to continue that mission, raising money to help individuals like Jose, get out of detention and get back to their lives, caring for themselves and their children.”
Help José and hundreds of other Father’s like him. Your donation will help parents get a fair hearing before an immigration judge and keep parents and their children together. #FamiliesBelongTogether #StopFamilySeparation #FreeOurFathers
To contribute to the revolving bond fund to help Jose and fathers like him visit our webpage at: www.bayareaimmigrationbondfund.org/
OR send checks made out to: Freedom For Immigrants
Memo: Bay Area Immigration Bond Fund/Fathers
1322 Webster St., Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94612