Treatment NOT Deportation: Vigil for Yanelli Hernandez

On Wednesday January 25th Yanelli was given an order of deportation from an immigration judge. She is currently scheduled to be deported on Tuesday, January 31st. A national effort has been launched to bring attention to Yanelli’s plight (; over 4,000 supporters have signed onto a national petition demanding she be reunited with her family. On Monday solidarity actions will be taking place from coast-to-coast – Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Raleigh, NC, Tallahassee, FL, Birmingham, AL, Harrisonburg, VA, and Cincinnati, OH, and many more – in an effort to end the deportation of Yanelli.

Yanelli Herenandez is set to be deported on Tuesday. Please join the Immigrant Youth Justice League on Monday at the ICE headquarters as we hold a vigil calling for a stop to Yanelli Hernandez’ deportation and bring local immigrant youth together to raise awareness about the mental anguish they face.

Yanelli Hernandez crossed the border to the United States alone at the age of 13. She worked hard to sustain herself. In order to help put food on her families table Yanelli was forced to drop out of school at a young age, from the age from the age of 15 she worked in an aircraft manufacturing plant; she is currently 22. Suffering from severe depression Yanelli attempted to commit suicide in October of 2009. She survived, however her depression went untreated.

In the spring of 2011 Yanelli began to self-medicate with alcohol. That same spring she was arrested for driving under the influence and, unable to present valid identification, charged with forgery: yielding her a 9 month jail sentence. While detained Yanelli’s depression has continued to worsen, “She attempted suicide after she begged to just be deported. When her request was rejected, out of desperation, she attempted to take her own life.” States Marco Saavedra, an organizer, and close friend of Yanelli.

Yanelli has not returned to Mexico in almost 10 years. Her entire immediate family lives in Ohio. “The worst thing you could probably do to someone who is suicidal is to leave them alone in their moments of crisis. Deporting someone where they have no support system is doing just that, which will most likely increase their risk of suicide” Jacqueline Luna, MSW.

The situation is dire for Yanelli; in November Joaquin Luna, an undocumented student from Texas took his own life due to his immigration status. “We are so worried for Yanelli, she is a part of our community and as undocumented youth we are going to do everything we can to make sure she gets all of the help she needs” said Jonathan Perez, organizer with the Immigrant Youth Coalition in California.

We ask you to join us in Chicago as we stand strong in support of Yanelli.


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