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Victim of ICE injustice

Letter to the Editor
Sunday, October 28, 2018

Editor,

Janelie Rodriguez, a former DACA recipient, will celebrate her 27th birthday behind bars, hours away from her family in South Texas Detention Center in Pearsall, Texas.

Janelie, a Buda resident, Del Valle High School graduate, mall worker, daughter to a loving mother who works cleaning homes and selling ice cream pops, step daughter to a father who works under the sun in construction, sibling to 6 younger brothers and sisters, is a person who is more than her illness, a person who is more than her immigration status.

Janelie, who suffers from intermittent psychosis, was originally arrested in October of 2017 after her family called for a mental health check, which resulted in her transfer to a mental health facility. In January of 2018, a neighbor called the police while Janelie was suffering from another episode. This time when the police arrived she was instead arrested on felony assault charges stemming from the October incident where she allegedly bit a police officer. However, the judge overseeing her case later dropped these charges after a mental health evaluation was performed.

Currently, Janelie is awaiting trial for an asylum hearing scheduled for November 8th, where a judge will decide whether she will be deported back to a country she has not seen since she was three years old. If Janelie was documented, she would be home, but because she had her DACA paperwork stolen, she remains vulnerable to three broken systems: mental health, criminal justice, and immigration.

Still though, despite all the worry and heartbreak she and her family has suffered, they remain hopeful she will be freed. Mano Amiga, too, remains hopeful, so we will never waver in our commitment to the immigrant community and criminal justice reform. We will continue to grow and educate ourselves and others and to pass the baton of social justice organizing to our posterity. There are so many families who are like Janelie’s: of mixed-status, and caught in these broken systems, so we will continue to advocate for them. Our bodies may grow weary, but our hearts and minds never will, as we are motivated by love against systems of hate.

Eric Martinez

Mano Amiga San Marcos