Standing Up to ICE

Anastasia is a young woman, the single mother of a seven-year-old boy. She has paid U.S. taxes for 10 years. She has no criminal record. Her ancestry is Indigenous to this continent, but ICE officials seek to deport her because she has no U.S. visa. She is represented by an immigration lawyer who is affiliated with CLARO. Her lawyer points out that the grounds for cancellation of removal include serious hardship to a U.S. citizen. In Anastasia’s case, this would be her young son.

On Friday May 24, at a 9 AM appointment, ICE did not take Anastasia into custody. She and her lawyer signed an agreement that Anastasia will appear before a U.S. Immigration hearing official in the near future. However, ICE agents did give her an electronic ankle monitor, to assure that she will not leave Santa Clara County and fail to appear at the hearing. Anastasia was happy to be free and returning to her son.

Over 20 people came to the ICE office at 8:30 AM to show their solidarity with Anastasia. They included local members of PACT SJ, SURJ South County, Shir Hadash synagogue in Los Gatos, members of Bend the Arc: South Bay (Diane Glazer and Rhona Mahony), and other members of our community. It was impressive how many different organizations in different religious traditions, fields of work, and local towns came to support Anastasia. She expressed gratitude to all the people who showed up to support her. She said that she had expected to be alone at the appointment.

We are likely to be called upon to show our solidarity by accompanying her on her court date. As Jews, we are commanded to welcome and care for the stranger. Please stay tuned for ongoing updates on this action.

A psychologist affiliated with Amigos has been counseling Anastasia and her son. They will write a formal evaluation of expected harm to the son if Anastasia is deported. Anastasia’s lawyer said it can take years for the hearing officers to complete assessment of psychological evaluations and other materials that immigrants in Anastasia’s situation submit. Immigration hearing officers are not employees of the U.S. Judicial Branch. They are employees of the Executive Branch, in the Justice Department. Their current boss is Attorney General William Barr.

Anastasia and her lawyer hope that the formal evaluation process might continue until past the end of term of our current President. Under a new administration, her family is likelier to be safe.