Immigrant Community Leaders Deliver 9,000 Petitions to Reps. Ros-Lehtinen & Curbelo to Oppose Trump’s Mass Deportation Budget

United We Dream Press Releases

Miami, FL – This week, immigrant community leaders descended onto the offices of Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo to deliver over nine thousand petitions, signed by residents across Florida, demanding they oppose Donald Trump’s $3 billion mass deportation budget. The leaders spoke out against the detention of their loved ones and demanded #JusticeForJuan – a young man with DACA who was deported in February.

In attendance were three mothers whose husbands were detained during their regular ICE check-ins at the Miramar ICE Office. After their meeting with Curbelo, the community leaders received notice that one of the men, Espilvio Sánchez-Benavidez, had just been deported.

You can see pictures and video of today’s delivery at Representative Ros-Lehtinen’s office here, here and here. For the delivery at Representative Curbelo’s office see here, here and here.

Espilvio immigrated to the U.S. in 2013 from Nicaragua escaping guerrilla armed forces and instability. At the age of 21 years, two of his family members had already been murdered for opposing the government and then he began receiving death threats himself. Espilvio was detained in 2013 after presenting himself at the U.S. border asking for political asylum. In 2015, his case was denied and he has since been appealing his case. During a routine check-in with ICE on March 9th, he was arrested and detained in Krome Detention Center, later to be transferred to a Louisiana facility.

Maria Asuncion-Bilbao, Miami Organizer with United We Dream, said/dijo:

“Wendy is a domestic worker and the wife of Espilvio. His detention has impacted her emotional and mental well being, and she struggles to earn enough money to pay her rent and food. Wendy and two more women whose husbands are detained called on Representatives Ros-Lehtinen and Curbelo for support on stopping their loved ones’ deportations. While we did not get commitments from Rep. Curbelo’s office, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen did commit to helping with deportation cases.

“After our visit at Representative Curbelo’s office we received the tragic news that Espilvio was deported. But we aren’t going to give up – we are #HereToStay, and as a community we will continue to fight for mothers like Wendy and turn to each other for the resiliency and power needed to build deportation defense networks in our neighborhoods and fight for an end to this nightmare.”

“Wendy es una trabajadora doméstica y la esposa de Espilvio. Su detención ha impactado su salud emocional y mental, y batalla con ganar dinero suficiente para pagar su renta y comida. Wendy y dos mujeres más con esposos en detención le pidieron a los Representantes Ros-Lehtinen y Curbelo su apoyo en poner un alto al deportación de sus seres queridos.

“Durante nuestra visita con Representante Curbelo recibimos las malas noticias de que Espilvio fue deportado. Aquí estamos y nos quedamos en el lugar que llamamos hogar, y como comunidad seguiremos apoyando madres como Wendy.  Seguiremos unidos para que entre nosotros mismos usemos nuestra resistencia, valor y poder, para poder construir nuestros redes de defensa contra deportación y luchar por un fin a esta pesadilla.”

Tomas Kennedy, formerly undocumented Argentinian immigrant and community organizer with SEIU Florida, said: “Representative Curbelo’s staff made no commitment to stand with immigrant families in these worrisome times where young people like Juan Manuel Montes and people like Espilvio are being deported away from their families. We brought over nine thousand petitions signed by folks across Florida who demand that not one cent be used to fund Trump’s detention camps, the southern wall and an increase to ICE and Border Patrol agents. Representatives Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen must put an end to these ruthless deportations.”