Target: John Morton, Director of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement
Goal: Release domestic abuse victim from immigration detention
Maria Calderon, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, bravely stepped forward as a victim of ongoing spousal abuse at the hands of her husband who is an American citizen. Calderon’s husband immediately informed the responding officers that his wife was undocumented. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials arrived shortly thereafter. Calderon has been in I.C.E. detainment for over a year now.
This is a blatant miscarriage of justice. By detaining Maria Calderon the state of Arizona has merely victimized a victim. Reporting a crime is not grounds for deportation. Yes, Calderon was in the U.S. illegally, but that does not mean that she should not have been protected from violence. Furthermore, as a victim of abuse Calderon should be eligible for a U-visa, a type of visa reserved for victims of domestic abuse. Maria Calderon has suffered enough. She is not a criminal but a victim and has done nothing to warrant detention and deportation.
Arizona has been one the most dangerous states for illegal immigrants since the passing of a controversial bill which allows police to ask any suspected illegal immigrants for identification and proof of citizenship. Now illegal immigrants who are the victims of abuse are even more scared to go to police.
The lives of many undocumented workers are lived in perpetual fear; fear of being taken advantage of by employers, fear of being deported, fear of being away from family, or quite commonly, fear of the police. The fear of law enforcement is not at all unjustified since it is a crime to be in the United States without the proper documents.
However, it is not against the law for an illegal immigrant to report a crime or report being the victim of a crime. Theoretically, an undocumented immigrant who was the victim of a robbery could call the police seeking justice and not get arrested for being an illegal immigrant. Sadly, things do not always work out that way for immigrants. It is not at all uncommon for an immigrant to come forward as the victim of a crime only to quickly be detained as a criminal.
Tell Immigration and Customs Enforcement to free Maria Calderon and treat victims, no matter where they are from, with the respect they deserve.
Dear Director Morton,
Recently, a woman named Maria Calderon was detained by Immigrations Custom Enforcement. She is an undocumented immigrant in the country but has committed no other crime. Ms. Calderon was the victim of ongoing abuse at the hands of her husband, an American citizen. Shortly after informing the police of her situation she was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and has been held for over a year. Ms. Calderon did nothing but report a crime.
This is utterly unacceptable. It flies against the fact that illegal immigrants are allowed to report crimes and seek justice without fear of deportation. The United States has given illegal immigrants this protection. However, since Arizona introduced SB-1070, undocumented immigrants have had to live in greater fear of the authorities than ever before.
Maria Calderon’s arrest establishes the principle that any immigrant, including those who were the victims of abuse (even abuse at the hands of an American citizen), can no longer safely seek help from law enforcement. Maria Calderon, and many other undocumented immigrants who are abuse victims, are eligible for a visa that would allow them to stay in the country.
Maria Calderon has been through enough. She came to this country for a better life and instead has found nothing but pain. She has been imprisoned for over a year despite being innocent of any crime. This is not justice and this does nothing to help with the problem of illegal immigration. This is just petty and abusive. It establishes a culture that is accepting of abuse and violence, and one that treats undocumented immigrants as if they are something less than human. This is not the American way; Ms. Calderon must be freed if you want to maintain a semblance of justice and fairness.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue via flickr