Father detained by ICE after dropping 4-year-old off at daycare; rally held
SAN FRANCISCO - Immigrant advocacy groups rallied on behalf of an undocumented immigrant on Friday in San Francisco.
Fernando Carrillo has been living in the United States for 20 years, but was taken into custody by federal authorities in October.
Leaders in the Jewish community and other faith organizations rallied along with Carrillo's three daughters and his wife outside the San Francisco Immigration & Customs Enforcement offices (ICE). They are calling on ICE Director, David Jennings to release Carrillo from detention.
Carrillo was detained after he dropped off his four-year-old daughter at a San Jose daycare on October 11, 2017. He's been in federal custody ever since.
Carrillo's car was pulled over by ICE agents after he left the daycare. Fernando was detained by immigration agents and since then has been held at the ICE facility at the West County Detention Center in Richmond.
Singing hymns in Hebrew and toting signs that said "Free Fernando," members of the San Francisco Jewish community felt compelled to stand up on behalf of Carrillo.
"We don't have to look back 3,000 years ago to a time when Moses said let my people go, to know that this is incredibly unfair and unjust," said Rabbi Sydney Mintz with Congregation Emmanuel.
Carrillo's wife Lourdes Barraza and their three children were all born in the United States.
"It's affected us tremendously," said Lourdes Barraza, Fernando's wife of six years. "Our oldest daughter has had to go from being in a regular high school to a home studies program because of her depression and her anxiety," she said. "It's been a nightmare - emotionally, physically, financially."
She said bureaucratic red tape has prevented her husband from becoming legal.
"I have struggled to make ends meet. Fernando was the main provider," said Lourdes, who now pays the rent with a credit card. "Our power got turned off last week because I did not have enough money." The power now is back on with a nonprofit's help.
She blames the Trump administration for its hard-handed tactics regarding immigration.
"Children are suffering, families are suffering, my family is suffering and it's not fair," said Barraza through tears.
Ferrnando's 15 year-old daughter Isabella Astorga admitted that it's difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
"I feel like my whole life has just you know slowly crumbled apart," said Astorga, crying. "I just feel very out of place in life right now."
Interfaith organizations said they're trying to get Fernando released.
"The main issue right now is that we're trying to get him out of detention because when you are in detention it is very difficult... to get the kind of legal advice you need," Reverend Deborah Lee of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.
ICE responded to today's protest with an email which stated that it "fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference. The Department of Homeland Security remains committed to the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws."
In a separate email an ICE spokesperson wrote that Carrillo was "removed to his native Mexico three times since 2003." They also pulled up his database and shared that he's possessed fraudulent identification as well as a conviction for driving under the influence.
"I just have to remind myself that we're not going to let these people win, just to keep really fighting for my dad," said Astorga.