Convinced of the power of organizing, thank you [A message from the Vera family]
Juan Carlos was detained at McHenry county detention center after being turned over to immigration by a human resource employee who thought she was doing her ‘civic duty.’ At court he was given a bond that the family could afford, unopposed by ICE. Below is a thank you note from his brother, and an account of the court.
Thank you for having our back. I am more convinced now than ever about the power of organizing. Today, as we walked into immigration court I was hopeful but full of uncertainty. I knew that this was the real deal; whatever happened inside that court room was really going to change my life regardless of the outcome.
My sister-in-law as shy as she is had done numerous interviews asking for her husband’s release. She really was getting better at them as she did them. She even told me that she didn’t even get nervous anymore. It’s amazing what love can do. My 10 month-old nephew Gianni and the new baby on the way will get to be with my brother while he fights his case from the outside.
My brother Juan Carlos was granted relatively low bond today in court. As it got to be my brother’s turn in front of the Immigration Judge, our attorney was ready for what she thought would be a tough battle. She had filed a motion for bond with a lot of good points as to why my brother should be released and be with his family, but she was expecting a fight back from the ICE Prosecutor. The judge asked about the motion, and said what amount of bond we were asking for. Our attorney asked for a low amount and the ICE prosecutor did not fight back.
The judge then welcomed my brother by video conference, and told him the good news about the ICE prosecutor and his attorney agreeing on a bond amount. Then, they continued into the charges and why my brother was being held. The judge asked our attorney if she agreed on the charges. Before our attorney cold respond the ICE prosecutor said that ICE was not going to continue on a specific charge citing it as a petty offense. This caught the attorney and me by surprise because we were not expecting ICE to be so generous, as they usually are not. The judge even allowed my sister in law to go to the front of the court room and speak with my brother for a brief moment by video.
There is no doubt in mind that the collective effort of organizing a public campaign and coordinating that very well with a legal team does make a world of a difference. I know that this is just a battle that we have won in my brother’s case and the fight continues until we can get his case closed for good. But thanks to the fearless community that stood behind him and our family, we are one step closer.
This situation also makes me think about those families that are separated daily. 1,100 deportations on a daily basis are simply unacceptable. If making calls, signing & sharing petitions, press conferences, interviews, is what it takes, then so be it! Let’s stop family separation and let’s fight for everyone even those harder cases that don’t have the perfect poster child.
A big thank-you is owed to Tania Unzueta and the whole IYJL team that helped me go public with my brother’s case, and helped coordinate the case with our attorney. Sheena Kauzlarich, SSIP Executive Director, thank you for your strong support and helping me coordinate congressional support. Rebecca Shii, Jesse Hoyt, & the ICIRR organizing team thank-you for really being committed to my brother’s case and helping us gather strong support throughout. Our gratitude is also with Attorney Mary Helen Reyna for being open minded and helping us with the legal aspect of my brother’s case. Lastly, thank you to everyone that placed a call, signed & shared a petition, and prayed for our family.
Jose Eduardo Vera
Jose Eduardo Vera is an organizer in Bolingbrook, IL at the Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project.