March 23, 2021
We are rejoicing with Jose Robles and his family that he is finally out of the Northwest Detention Center after 20 months! Thank you Plymouth for the many ways you have been accompanying him throughout his struggle to remain in the United States with his family. In response to questions and emails from the faith communities and friends, Pam Smith Mentz from the University Immigration Justice Network, Pastor Joanne Engquist from Gethsemane Lutheran Church, and I, as part of the Downtown Sanctuary Network wrote this update which we hope provides some answers in one place. Follow the links and you'll see some familiar Plymouth folks too, (if you can identify them behind their masks.)
Jose is extremely grateful for our continuing support for him and his family. He also asked us to remember the others still in the detention center. They need us to keep working until they are all able to live with their families while they await the outome of their cases. -Carol Mooney, Plymouth Immigration Ministry Team
On March 10, Jose Robles was released from immigration detention! Jose had been detained in the Northwest Detention Center for 20 months, since July 2019. A recent directive from the Biden administration provided a new pathway to seek his release.
Many of you have followed Jose's story over the last three years, starting with him seeking sanctuary at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in June 2018. Having lived in the United States since 2000, this father of three daughters has deep ties in the Lakewood community. You can “meet Jose” through an online video produced while he was still in sanctuary.
Jose and his family finally have been reunited -- it was a joyous milestone! After 987 days, he finally was able to sleep in his own bed! Learn more here from the news media’s report. And, see this link sharing the day of his release.
Jose's U-Visa remains pending with USCIS, with no word on when it will be adjudicated. We are grateful that, while monitored by ICE as this process unfolds, Jose’s Stay of Removal from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals helps him stay safely at home.
After three years unemployed, and with his work authorization expired, it is challenging for Jose to return to his familiar place as primary earner in the family. Renewal of his work authorization will take 150 days or longer. And, as with so many, the economic impact of covid-19 is more intensely felt among immigrants who do not receive stimulus checks or unemployment benefits. In this time, Jose and family would benefit from the larger community encircling them to help with rent, other basic living expenses, and some home repairs and other expenses that have been backlogged. Please consider giving, as you are able. Tax-deductible contributions may be made through Gethsemane Lutheran Church (choose Immigration & note Jose in the memo). Or, send a check to Gethsemane Lutheran Church with Jose noted in the memo. Gifts also may be made through the GoFundMe “Jose Robles Support Fund.”
THE CHURCH BUILDING IS CLOSED
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