RELEASE – One Hundred Supporters Rally at USCIS to Demand Answers
For immediate release: October 22, 2014
Diana Pei Wu, Media Coordinator, Unid@s Con Francisco, 971-221-5464, email@example.com
Ranfis Villatoro, VOZ Workers Rights Education Project, 971-242-9964, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tania Unzueta, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), 773-387-3186, email@example.com
A Hundred Supporters Rally at USCIS Office Demanding Agency Process the Application for Relief of Francisco Aguirre, the Portland Community & Labor Leader in Sanctuary at Augustana Lutheran Church
Questions of ICE Interference in Legal Application Arise After Cancelled Appointment: Supporters Say “Francisco belongs at home. Process his visa not his deportation.”
Portland, Ore. — Over a hundred supporters of the campaign to protect Portland labor and immigrant community leader Francisco Aguirre rallied at the USCIS office in downtown Portland this morning, demanding answers after the agency abruptly cancelled Aguirre’s appointment to have his fingerprints taken for his visa. About 50 people arrived in a school bus and caravan after meeting at the Augustana Lutheran Church, where Aguirre has been in sanctuary since an early morning raid at his house on Friday, September 19, one month ago.
“Every day that USCIS cancels or delays his biometrics appointment and Visa process is another day that my husband Francisco is not with us, his family,” said his wife, who wishes to remain anonymous, through a statement read by Gloria Gonzalez. “I have always wanted to be part of this country, but I long for a country in which everyone has the same opportunities, and that includes my people and immigrant communities.”
“The government should be providing Francisco with status, not processing his deportation,” says Pastor Knutson of Augustana Lutheran Church. “We’ve seen love and support pour out from all corners of the community. Francisco belongs at home not in deportation proceedings.”
“USCIS is charged with the specific mission of citizenship and immigration services. There is a question of whether it may be violating that mission and denying those services. The agency is to have nothing to do with ICE’s deportation quota pursuits in general or in the case of Francisco Aguirre,” adds Romeo Sosa, director of VOZ. “We expect Francisco’s appointment to be rescheduled promptly and for his application to be processed without delay. This has caused extreme hardship on his family who longs to get back to normal and on his community who misses his leadership. After more than a month in sanctuary, it’s time for Francisco’s case to be resolved and for him to be granted the status he deserves and is eligible for.”
Those present included executive leadership from leading non-profits advocating for immigrant, worker and refugee communities, faith leaders, and community members.