Advocates Hold Father’s Day Vigil for Immigrant Dads in Detention at Suffolk County House of Corrections

“Father’s Day is for Families” vigil held in coordination with actions nationwide

Josue_and_sonWEBJune 13, 2013 BOSTON — During a weekend when fathers are reuniting with their families across the nation, immigration reform advocates will gather tomorrow afternoon in front of the Suffolk County House of Corrections in Boston to demand that Congress and the Obama administration stop separating immigrant fathers from their wives and children.

“The father of our child and provider for our family was taken from us in February, after being stopped by a Massachusetts State Trooper for no apparent reason other than the color of his skin,” said Norma Velazquez, of Fitchburg. “I will be standing in front of the building where he is detained to ask the government to stop this cruel destruction of my family, and of thousands of families like mine across Massachusetts.”

The Suffolk County House of Corrections typically houses around 250 immigrant detainees every day, none of whom are serving criminal sentences, in a holding facility that also houses convicted criminals. The U.S. government pays about $90 a day for each detainee, many of whom spend months or even years waiting for the final adjudication of their cases, with no access to court appointed attorneys or other basic rights enjoyed by inmates serving criminal sentences.

Last year, over 5,000 immigrants were deported from New England — a figure that has climbed steadily since 2006 — a large portion of them processed through the Suffolk County House of Corrections.These figures form a small part of a national deportation network in which1,500 fathers, mothers, children and friends are taken away and locked-up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) everyday.

The vigil is held in coordination with dozens of organizations participating in “Father’s Day is for Families” actions across the nation. Coordinated by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement and the Detention Watch Network, the actions will ask Congress and the Obama administration to end family separations and to make family unity a part of any immigration reform legislation.

WHO: Members of the New England Coalition for Keeping Families Together: Agencia ALPHA, Alliance to Develop Power (ADP), Brazilian Immigrant Center, Brazilian Women's Group, Centro Latino, Chelsea Collaborative, Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Community Connections of Brockton, Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), JUNTA for Progressive Action (New Haven, CT), Latinos Unidos de Massachusetts (LUMA), Massachusetts Community Action Network/PICO National Network, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), New Bedford Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts (CEDC), New Hampshire Alliance of Immigrants and Refugees, ¿Oiste?, Roca Inc, Unidad Latina (New Haven, CT), Worcester Immigrant Coalition. Also in partnership with Just Communities of Western Mass and the Boston New Sanctuary Movement.

WHAT:
Father’s Day is for Families Vigil

WHERE:
Suffolk County House of Corrections
20 Bradston Street
Boston, MA 02118

WHEN:
2:00 p.m., Saturday, June 15, 2013

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