Since May 2019, Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez, also known as Beto, has been fighting to remain with his family in the United States. Beto was arrested and transferred to ICE custody in 2019 during a road trip outside of Chicago, Illinois. Even though Beto qualifies for the DACA (Deferred for Childhood Arrivals) program and should have not spent time in detention, local Iowa police transferred him to ICE. After months of a public campaign led by Beto and his family, organizers at OCAD and attorneys at Beyond Legal Aid, Beto won his release from immigration detention in February 2020. Overwhelming community support was instrumental in pressuring ICE but ultimately it was an Immigration Judge that granted Beto his release.
Upon his release Beto continued speaking against the conditions in detention and ICE’s retaliatory tactics used against him during his time in custody. In late May 2020, Beto received a letter from ICE requesting he show up for a check-in. Due to the COVID19 global pandemic and following public health officials’ recommendations, Beto’s attorneys submitted a request to the ICE Field Director Peter Berg to allow Beto to join the agency’s appointment remotely, either via phone or video call. The immigration agency denied all attempts and Beto was forced to travel across state lines for an ICE check-in on June 9, 2020.
Beto was immediately arrested at the appointment and transferred to a detention center in Nebraska. On June 10, Beto was deported to Mexico. In less than 24 hours, ICE used numerous resources to transfer Beto from Omaha, Nebraska to a facility near the Mexico-U.S. border, where they eventually deported him.
ICE had the choice between letting Beto go home and using their resources to re-detain and deport a DACA-eligible youth. They chose the latter. Despite the ongoing COVID19 global pandemic, ICE chose to use their resources to capriciously separate another family. This is not a defeat for Beto, his family and supporters – his unjust removal from his community is a reminder of the ongoing fight against the systems of criminalization, detention and deportation. Although he was deported, Beto is part of an organized community and has a network of supporters that are ready to keep on fighting to bring him back home.
Beto’s deportation was not a defeat, it was a desperate act from ICE to silence the struggle of Beto and his community. Although Beto was deported, the fight to reunite with his family is not over yet.
In order to bring Beto back home with his family, two things need to happen:
Send an email to California USCIS Director, Kathy A. Baran, urging her to approve Beto's application and bring him back home.
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