On September 13th and 14th, the case of Alfredo Avila-Mendez will go before a jury in Federal District Court before Judge Cook. He has been charged with the felony of “re-entry” – returning to the U.S. after a deportation. All he is guilty of is trying to keep his family together.
Alfredo is married to a Mexican-born U.S. citizen, and they have four American children. He was detained by ICE while driving his three year old son to childcare. ICE was called by a cable company employee who installed cable wiring in his house the day before and noted Alfredo’s wife’s accent.
Before being detained, Alfredo had a successful business curing wood for outdoor construction. Since his detention in May, his wife was forced to sell the equipment for the business at below-market value, and due to the loss in family income, the family is now facing foreclosure of their modest Shelby Township home.
When Alfredo last attempted to cross the border to be home for the birth of his older son, he was kidnapped by a coyote, held as a slave for over a month, and threatened with death if his wife did not come up with more money to free him.
Alfredo is determined not to face such circumstances again and to keep his family together. He has refused to sign a voluntary deportation order and has vowed to fight both the criminal charges and his deportation – not only for himself, but also for the millions of other undocumented immigrants who are forced to live in fear.
Alfredo’s wife contacted BAMN (The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary) and chose BAMN attorneys from Scheff, Washington & Driver to represent him because Alfredo and his wife believe that this is the only organization that will aggressively defend his right to remain in the United States and work to use his case to shift both immigration policy and law in a more humane direction.
Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, claims that the Obama administration focuses its immigration enforcement efforts on those who pose a danger to national security, are a risk to public safety, or those with serious or multiple criminal convictions. Yet there appears to be an increase in the involvement of the federal courts in immigration cases over the past year and many innocent people like Alfredo are facing felony charges as well as deportation.
BAMN and Alfredo’s family, friends and supporters are circulating a petition to have the charges against him dropped. SIGN IT NOW! They are asking people to picket at 8am outside the courthouse at 231 West Lafayette Boulevard in Detroit before his trial on September 13th and 14th demanding an end to deportations and full rights to all immigrants and then to fill the courtroom to demonstrate the broad support he has from the community.
For more information, contact BAMN at [email protected] or 855-275-2266.