PRESS RELEASE (en español)
Hundreds of Students, Teachers & Community Members Call on ICE to
Halt Deportation of a Maryland Dream Act Student & His Family
Case of family of 3 from Germantown, MD sparks a grassroots revolution of support
- WHAT: Press Conference, rally and vigil
- WHERE: Rockville Town Square, Rockville, MD 20850
- WHEN: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 3:30 P.M.
- WHO: Friends and family of Jorge Steven Acuña, Members of St. Rose of Lima church, St. Martins church, Mother Seton Parish, Northwest High School Teachers, Montgomery College Professors, Soccer Coaches, Hundreds of students, Members of the community, CASA de Maryland
Rockville, MD - This Wednesday, hundreds of students, community members, faith leaders, and teachers will join together to urge justice for the Acuña family. On March 8th 2012, Blanca, Jorge Sr., and Jorge Steven Acuña were taken from their home by immigration agents and are now being held at Snow Hill Detention Center in a maximum security unit.
The Acuña family came to the United States in 2001 to escape the political violence of their home country of Colombia. Moving first to Florida then to Montgomery County, Maryland, they quickly adopted to their new community buying a home, working multiple jobs to support the family, and getting active in their church St. Rose of Lima in Gaithersburg. Jorge Steven started his education at the grade school level in the United States, graduated with a 3.8 GPA from Northwest High School in Germantown, and started his studies at Montgomery College this year where he has made the Dean's List, excelling in academics and athletics. Jorge's dream is to go to Johns Hopkins and become a surgeon.
When the Acuñas came to the United States, they applied for asylum. Despite the tens of thousands they spent on representation, their case did not receive adequate legal attention from their attorney who was later disbarred. Asylum was denied and last week ICE officials came to pick the family up, putting the star student in leg irons for transport to the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.
“This terrible news is sending shockwaves through our community not just because the Acuñas are productive members of our society, but especially because of the loss of a young, inspiring, and successful college student,” said Julio Castillo, a classmate, teammate and close friend of Jorge’s. “This must stop with Jorge”
Hours after his detention, Jorge’s friends and family organized an impressive social media campaign with viral videos and photos. Within 48 hours their online petition gathered almost 5,000 signatures while their twitter campaign #JSA is trending as one of the most talked about topics in the Washington D.C. Metro area. They have gained the attention of thousands across our county and state prompting a unanimous statement of support from the Montgomery County Council.
“It is good to see hope in jail, a place where I never see daylight,” said Jorge Steven to his supporters when they visited him in an Eastern Shore detention center over the weekend.
In late August of last year, the Obama administration announced it planned to review cases of people currently in removal proceedings and focus their resources only on the highest priorities. In other words, DREAM ACT- students, relatives of veterans, victims of domestic violence and other individuals would be able to stay in the country and get work permits. Actions tomorrow will draw attention and recruit supporters to the cause of the Acuña family while continuing to highlight the impact of the broken immigration system on local communities.