Day laborer and community leader unjustly detained
On March 24th, Martin Berrospe, a day laborer and leader in Rancho Cucamonga, was mistaken for someone else and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during the national “Cross-Check” operation. He was walking to the day laborer corner early one morning when ICE stopped and questioned him. Although they could not identify his immigration status, and they did not have a warrant for his arrest, he was handcuffed, put into the car, and told that he would be deported within a few hours. When the ICE agents tried to get Martin to sign papers so that he could be deported that same day, Martin stood up for himself and demanded to see a judge, boldly telling them, “I belong to an organized day laborer group and I know my rights!” Since then, he has been in the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster, CA. The prosecutor representing ICE and the U.S. government acknowledged that they picked up the wrong person and the judge recognized that Martin is a “good person.”
Martin is an honorable man who leads his fellow day laborers with dignity and respect. He has lived in the U.S. for 18 years and has never committed a crime. He is an upstanding member of his community and a leader of his fellow day laborers. He is active with the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. In 2008, he helped found the Fernando Pedraza Community Coalition, a group of community members that support the day laborers in Rancho Cucamonga. He is an active member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Rancho Cucamonga and regularly attends services there. He is reliable, dependable, and committed to his work in the community. I have known Martin for 5 years and I am committed to getting him out of detention. He works hard to support himself and does not ask for anything from anyone else. He deserves to be free while he fights his case. While our government continues to argue that it does not deport people who have not committed a crime, Martin languishes in detention. Will you help us set him free? We need to raise $4,000 to get him out of detention before his next hearing. All donations of any amount will go directly towards Martin’s freedom. His legal fees are being offered pro-bono by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network because they, too, believe in Martin and his struggle for freedom. Please donate as much as you can as soon as you can so we can bring Martin home!!!!You can donate by clicking on the “Donate” link on the PEOC website: http://pomonadaylabor.org/. We have been able to raise $1,000 so far but still need $3,000 more!!! Every dollar counts!!!
Executive Director, Pomona Economic Opportunity Center