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Alert: Immigrant family separated at Baltimore ICE check in today

by Gary Maring

I was witness today along with other DMV Sanctuary Congregation representatives to a family being separated by ICE at the Baltimore ICE office this morning. Marta who has lived here in New Carrolton Md. for 10 years, is married and has 5 children (see her story below). This morning we accompanied Marta to her ICE appointment and clergy (Pastor Julia Jarvis of our son’s family’s congregation) went in with her to the appointment. We found the devastating news an hour later that she was detained by ICE and likely to be sent back to Honduras. Her husband, children, and extended family were waiting outside the ICE building and as you can imagine were devastated. We urgently need all Maryland residents to contact the Governor, Senators, representatives at the numbers below. A suggested script is included. Peace, Gary

Marta’s story
Marta Rodriguez is originally from Honduras. She has lived in New Carrollton, MD for more than 10 years. She is legally employed with a work authorization card. She has worked for numerous families in the DC area and has positively contributed to the local community. She has a Social Security number, pays her taxes and owns her own home. For the past nine years, she has reported to ICE as required.

On March 29, she went to check in as scheduled and was told: “This is not your country. Go back to your country.” She was asked to return to ICE in Baltimore on May 10, with a plane ticket to return to Honduras, never to return again to the US.

Marta left Honduras because her son, Osman, who is now 33 years old, is severely disabled – both mentally and physically. He requires substantial medical assistance, including 24-hour in-home nursing care. Marta wasn’t able to make enough money in Honduras to give him the care he needed, so she made the brave decision to immigrate to the US for work. Every month she sends $600 home to pay for Osman’s medical care.

In addition to Osman, she has five other children who live in the DC area with her. One of her children is a US citizen and three of the older children are Dreamers. Her youngest son, who just turned 15, will be left without a mother on May 10.

Marta is devastated to leave her family, particularly her young son who is at a formative age where he needs his mother. He is hoping to apply for DACA soon if all goes well, but the real tragedy is being separated from his mother.

Marta Detained by ICE
Nelson Free Till January

After the tragic news this morning that Marta Rodriguez had been detained by ICE, Nelson Gbohoutou left his check-in today and was told to check back in with ICE in January. In the meantime, Nelson’s attorney will pursue asylum status for him. Thanks to all those who donated to the funding site to provide an attorney for Nelson.

Please Take Immediate Action For Marta
Despite the outpouring of community support for Marta, the Baltimore field office chose to arbitrarily detain her, even though they have the discretion to let her go back to her family and community. We will not stand by as this agency cruelly tears our communities apart. Marta is under immediate threat of deportation, and we need you to call on ICE and Maryland officials to help stop her deportation.

Here are the phone numbers you’ll need:

• Governor Hogan: 410-974-3901

• Senator Van Hollen: 202-224-4654

• Senator Cardin: 202-224-4524

• Representative Hoyer: 202- 225-4131 (Marta’s rep)

• Baltimore ICE Field Office – Dorothy Herrera-Niles, Baltimore Field Office Director, or her deputy Janean Ohin (pronounced oh-heen): 410-637-4000 (main), and 410-637-3653 (Ohin)

Script for Governor Hogan: My name is _______ and I am calling to request the Governor immediately intervene with ICE Deputy and Acting Director Ronald Vitiello and Baltimore Field Office Director Dorothy Herrera-Niles to secure the release of asylum-seeker Marta Rodriguez. The Baltimore field office arbitrarily detained her at her ICE check-in this morning, July 9. Her detention puts in full display the excessive use of authority by this ICE office in Maryland, and its extreme cruelty in separating Marta from her community and her family.

Script for Maryland Senators and Representatives: My name is _____ and I would like to thank you for taking a stand on immigrant rights in Maryland, but right now we need your leadership more than ever. I would like to specifically request the Senator/Representative contact ICE Deputy and Acting Director Ronald Vitiello and Baltimore Field Office Director Dorothy Herrera-Niles and urge them to immediately release asylum-seeker Marta Rodriguez, who was detained as we accompanied her to her check-in with the Baltimore field office this morning, July 9. Her arbitrary detention puts in full display the excessive use of authority by this ICE office in Maryland, and its extreme cruelty in separating Marta from her community and her family.

Script for Baltimore ICE office: My name is _______ and I am calling to request that you immediately release asylum-seeker Marta Rodriguez, who your office detained July 9, as we accompanied her to her regular check-in. Marta is a valued member of our community and there is absolutely no reason for her to be detained or deported.

In solidarity,
DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network

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