Jesus, Erika, and ICE

It was still dark the morning that ICE agents knocked on Erika Fierro’s door. Her two young children were still asleep. Her husband, Jesus, had already left for work at his construction job. Jesus was not coming back today. This was the first information the shadowy figures at the door gave to a groggy mother of young children. They mentioned they had detained him and needed her to step outside before they revealed who they were.

No charges. No rights.

Erika said they tricked her to come outside, saying they had her husband and his truck, which had the expensive tools owned by the company he worked for inside. If she came out she could have them.

When she stepped outside, they laughed.

We got another one!

Who are you?

We’re ICE, we detained your husband and were taking you.

Where is your warrant?

We don’t need a warrant. We’re ICE.

This is my property, my children are inside. I have lived in Indianapolis for thirty years.

You were not born here. You are not from here. You need to get back to your country, so take your kids back and go.

They also threatened Erika with the cruelest threat to a mother.

We can do this the easy way or the hard way. The hard way is we follow you inside and do this in front of your kids. Then we call CPS and you won’t be able to get your kids back.

In the United States of America. In 2018.

Jesus had been detained. One theory is he had been ‘found out’ at a traffic stop in which he could not provide his papers a few weeks prior. ICE maintains there were previous immigration violations, including a previous deportation. 

But there have been no charges. No rights.

Jesus was detained in the dark of the morning, on his way to work. Most days, Jesus could be found working, as usual, in the light of day.  Erika, too, was known and seen often in her neighborhood with her kids. She was also extremely active in her church, in the light. Erika tells her story, of being in the US since she was 5, of graduating from a local high school, of raising a family in a neighborhood on the city’s northwest side with her husband, in the open, in the light.

But it seems the work of ICE is done in the dark.

Another Jesus, at the moment of his detainment, also done in the dark, once made this observation:

“Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me.” (Matt. 26:55)

Erika was able to convince ICE agents to allow her to stay with her children in order to take her 3 year old to an eye specialist and begin making arrangements for custody. They put an ankle bracelet on her so she could be tracked.

Still no charges. Still no rights.

In the United States. In 2018.

It’s unclear exactly where Jesus is being detained. Indiana? Perhaps he was moved to Kentucky or Michigan.

They are ICE. They don’t need a warrant. They don’t have to tell you. You’re not born here. You have no rights. There is no due process. This is about security.

Ahead of Erika’s ‘check in’ date with ICE, she was alerted ahead of time to begin to plan for her deportation. Faith leaders from the area accompanied her, including her parish priest and the local Roman Catholic Archbishop. It was a rainy day, but prayers were said and hymns were sung in the open yard in front of the nondescript unmarked corporate building with dark windows that serves as the ICE office.

The Archbishop and her priest accompanied her to the waiting room. They hoped to accompany her into the appointment.

She has to come in alone.

I am her priest and counselor. May I accompany her?

No. In fact if she does not walk in alone she will not be counted as having shown up

Can you assure us that she will return?

Yes

They checked her ankle bracelet and told her nothing in her status has changed.

Come back in two weeks. Make plans to be deported.

Still no charges. Still no rights.

In the United States. In 2018.

More info/press here:

https://www.wthr.com/article/her-husband-already-deported-indianapolis-woman-fears-same-fate

http://fox59.com/2018/04/24/mother-of-two-faces-deportation-after-30-years-of-living-in-indianapolis/

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2018/04/24/archbishop-shows-up-support-mother-facing-deportation-immigration-ice/546474002/

https://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/faith-leaders-host-vigil-protest-immigration-crack-down

https://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/indianapolis/two-hoosier-children-caught-in-immigration-dilemma-after-father-deported-mother-faces-deportation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHv0ZxwyFjI

Want to do something about this?

Indiana folks: CALL Senator Joe Donnelly (202-224-4814) and Senator Todd Young (202-224-5623), today!

Urge them to intervene. Tell them to ask ICE Field Director Richard Wong to grant Erika Fierro a hearing, so she can be reunited with her family.

Everyone: Call your elected officials. Tell them to reject any budget proposal that adds new money to ICE to round up people like Erika, until a permanent path to citizenship is in place.

 

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2 thoughts on “Jesus, Erika, and ICE

  1. I think of a lot of white folks that showed up on these shores and just starting working here. Eventually they got some rights, but sadly, only after ignoring the rights of those who lived here already. Well, ain’t that something.

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