Immigration Agents Arrest Local Business Owner, Mother of Two

Local, state and national organizations working to reunite her with her family

BIRMINGHAM, AL - On April 2nd, sheriff’s deputies in Gwinnett County, Georgia arrested longtime Alabama resident Lucy Herrera after she was pulled over for a broken taillight. Lucy, her husband and son were driving home from Atlanta. These law enforcement officers racially profiled the family and they inspected the car for drugs and placed Lucy’s son, a minor and U.S. citizen, in handcuffs. Lucy's husband and son were eventually released, but Lucy was turned over to ICE and taken to the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office has a 287(g) agreement with ICE that allows sheriffs to operate as immigration officers and to systematically target immigrants.

Lucy and her husband are small business owners. The incident has left the family shaken. “It was the night before my birthday. Little did I know that the next day would become the worst of my life. Seeing my mom beg for her freedom was something that I never thought I would have to witness, and it broke my heart,” said her son, Carlos, who is a junior in high school. Her daughter Fernanda, a DACA recipient and law student in Chicago, said, “I never would have imagined this would happen to my family—I am missing my best friend and my heart aches for my father who is missing the love of his life.” Lucy is a vital member of her community and her arrest underscores this administration’s disgraceful efforts to separate immigrant families and violate their rights.

Community activists, state and national organizations are asking for Lucy to be released from this unjust detention and working hard to make sure her children and husband are supported in this moment. “I have not seen a more blatant and aggressive case of racial profiling during my years in the immigrant rights movement,” said Sarai Portillo, Executive Director of Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice. “I have never heard of an instance of a white family being searched without probable cause and handcuffed for a broken taillight. Lucy is beloved by her community, and we will not rest until she is free.”

Lucy’s family and supporters are calling on ICE’s Atlanta Field Office Director to immediately release her, sign the petition. Lucy is also seeking a bond hearing with pro bono counsel from Adelante Alabama Worker Center.

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La Legislatura de Alabama debe centrarse en Alabama

Por Sarai Portillo, Directora Ejecutiva de ACIJ

Los legisladores de Alabama lo están haciendo otra vez: están poniendo su energía en aprobar proyectos de ley innecesarios que demonizan a las comunidades en lugar de solucionar los problemas reales y urgentes de nuestro estado.

El pasado jueves 28 de marzo, se aprobó un proyecto de ley del Senado de Alabama que brindaría a los habitantes de Alabama la opción de utilizar el reembolso de sus taxes del estado para contribuir a la organización "We Build the Wall" (Nosotros Construimos El Muro). Los legisladores no quedaron solo ahí, además agregaron una enmienda diciendo que si los fondos no se han utilizado dentro de los tres años siguientes, deberán devolverse al Fondo General.

Pero incluso con esta enmienda, este proyecto de ley busca tomar el dinero de los impuestos de los habitantes de Alabama y obtener un camino sancionado por el estado para canalizarlos fuera del estado. Debemos señalar que, en la forma actual para la declaración de impuestos, ya existen veintiún organizaciones locales sin fines de lucro que los contribuyentes pueden seleccionar para apoyar diferentes programas tales como el Programa de Envejecimiento de Alabama, el Fondo de Vida Silvestre de Alabama y el Programa de Veteranos de Alabama.

Mientras tanto, las escuelas públicas de Alabama están fallando. Los hospitales rurales están cerrando y dejando a las personas sin atención médica. Alabama está constantemente clasificado entre los cinco peores estados en lo que respecta a atención médica, educación y oportunidades y calidad de vida*.

La Legislatura solo se reúne durante ciertos días por sesión, y está utilizando esos pocos días para aprobar un proyecto de ley que ayuda a financiar una organización cuyas finanzas son tan inestables, incluso están agregando una enmienda sobre qué hacer si no se usan los fondos.

Los inmigrantes son miembros de la comunidad de Alabama. Somos vecinos, compañeros de trabajo, amigos y familiares. También somos contribuyentes, también pagamos taxes. No somos chivos expiatorios, destinados a ser agitados frente a los votantes para distraerlos del hecho de que los legisladores no están haciendo nada para solucionar problemas reales en nuestro estado.

Con proyectos de ley ya presentados sobre temas como la expansión de Medicaid, la lotería, la marihuana y la sobrepoblación en las prisiones, los legisladores estatales tienen ya suficientes problemas complicados para trabajar. Es hora de que hagan su trabajo y se centren en Alabama, y dejen que el Congreso haga lo suyo para abordar la política federal de inmigración.

*De acuerdo al U.S. News & World Report, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings



Exodus of Central American Migrants

On Monday, November 12 was held the Panel: Addressing the global refugee crisis - Part II: Focus on the United States, at the Birmingham Southern College Norton Theater.

At the panel, Sarai Portillo, executive director of ACIJ, and Yanira Arias, campaign manager of Alianza Americas, presented a report on current events in Mexico due to the Exodus of Central American migrants. "This Exodus must be treated as an humanitarian crisis because it is created by hunger and death in the countries of origin," said Sarai Portillo.

If you want to make a donation to the Refuge for Families Campaign. Donations to this campaign will support efforts to provide legal assistance and legal immigration services for migrant families and asylum seekers.

35K in 15 Days Campaign was very successful!

On October 18th, with a Cocktail Party we launched our fundraising campaign 35K in 15 days! The kick off was amazing!  To the party attended community members, sponsors and the general public. We raised a little more than $1,500!

Thank you so much to all the community and friends that help us raised $19,682! These two weeks we received a total of 131 contributions! The amount represents nearly the 60% of our ambitious goal. Thank you! We couldn't have done it without our generous donors. We also thank our amazing team for their hard work and dedication.

If you haven’t made your contribution yet, there’s still time!! Your ongoing support helps us continue our working of fighting for immigrants in Alabama. 

Alabama VOTA 2018 Outcomes

These past weeks we focused our efforts on the Alabama VOTA campaign in Jefferson, Madison, and Mobile counties where a high concentration of Latino voters is located. Each election cycle, we demonstrate the power of Alabama's Latino community by increasing voter turnout, registration, and civic education. Our staff and volunteer registered 100 new voters, knocked on nearly 1,500 doors and made nearly 2,000 phone calls in these counties. Among the canvassing and phone banking, we distributed 1,000 post cards encouraging Latino voters to go to vote. Immigrants form a key voting bloc in local, state, and national elections. Alabama VOTA gives to our community a voice in the 2018 midterms election.

ACIJ Launches New Website!

If you're reading this, you've discovered we have a new website! We hope this site is easy to navigate, and helps you find all the information you need about our organization! With this new, simplified format, you can easily give a donation to support our work, read our staff bios, sign up for email list, and more. Enjoy!