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Vigil calls for release of ICE detainee

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Hilaria Martinez wept as she spoke, in Spanish, of the ICE detainment of her husband Juan Martinez. How one of their daughters has anxiety attacks. How the family spent the holidays alone. How she doesn’t know how to explain why their father isn’t with them.

Behind her dozens gathered for a vigil Wednesday night demanding Immigration and Customs Enforcement release Martinez, denouncing their presence in Albuquerque and pushes by the Trump administration to enforce federal immigration laws in local communities.

“We will not sit idly by while our families, co-workers, neighbors, classmates and fellow parishioners are targeted and our families are separated,” Fabiola Bawden, community organizer with El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, said. “Today we say, ‘Enough is enough.’ ”

Bawden called the collaboration between ICE and public institutions – like courts and probation offices – a threat to families’ safety and addressed letters sent to local jurisdictions by the Department of Justice asking them to turn over policies related to immigration enforcement.

The letters, sent out earlier Wednesday, threatened to cut future law enforcement-related grants if counties don’t comply.

“Our message is clear: We have justice and the law on our side,” Bawden said. “Our communities will continue to use every tool at our disposal to resist Trump’s bully tactics.”

Hilaria Martinez said her husband Juan Martinez was detained by ICE in December after going to speak with his probation officer.

“I was outside the offices waiting for my husband – but he never came out,” Martinez said in Spanish, with Bawden translating. “When I heard that my husband was in the hands of ICE, I felt like I was going to faint.”

While Martinez’s fate is uncertain, she said she does not want any other families to go through the same thing.

“I urge the community to continue to organize, to speak out, and to stand up for the justice that our families deserve,” she said.

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