What: Dozens of local immigrant rights leaders and advocates against domestic violence will stage a holiday vigil urging the release of domestic violence survivor Yazmin Elias, a 34-year-old resident of Santa Rosa who has been separated from her three US citizen children for 10 months. During the rally, advocates will unveil letter to Department of Homeland Security Chief Counsel which rebukes the courtroom conduct of a DHS attorney who re-victimized Yazmin on the stand last month.
When: Thursday, December 22rd, 2016 at 6:00 PM
Where: Immigration Customs Enforcement Field Office, 630 Sansome Street. San Francisco, CA
Who: Yazmin Elias’ family, local immigrants rights leaders and advocates against domestic violence.
Visuals: Rally Participants will display poster images of Yazmin that read “#FreeYazmin” and banners displaying #FreeYazmin will be presented.
San Francisco, CA-The story of Yazmin, a single mother of three US citizen children and a domestic violence survivor, highlights the humanity of community members who have received convictions and have been targeted for deportation. As we approach the holiday season Yazmin’s sons will spend another holiday apart from their mother. With Trump about to take over and expand the Obama administration’s painful deportation machinery, community groups are fighting to defend people like Yazmin - and point to new legislation in Sacramento that would uphold due process and protect against abuses.
Yazmin’s story: Yazmin has been in ICE custody for the past 10 months separated from her three children: Elijah-17, Isaiah-14 and Jeremiah- 13 who are suffering from depression, PTSD and ADHD. From a young age Yazmin endured constant physical violence, dating back to her childhood, and her prime coping mechanism to survive her trauma has been self-medication. On August 2015, Yazmin was cited for driving under the influence of alcohol. Since then, Yazmin has completed a 3-month residential program where she learned to rehabilitate. Yazmin is applying for asylum and a U visa which would enable her to truly recover from over 10 years of abuse; her current detention is re-traumatizing her and preventing her from recovering.
Courtroom controversy. On November 10, 2016 community advocates, and social workers were shocked to witness the blame-the-victim narrative that a DHS attorney pursued during Yamin’ bond hearing. As a result, community advocates against domestic violence and immigrants rights leaders are also delivering a letter to DHS Chief Counsel Ms. Leslie Ungerman. Advocates hope to address the re-traumatizing experience Yazmin had to undergo through the inhumane court process and request Yazmin’s reunification with her children for Christmas.
The need for state legislation. Yazmin’s experiences also highlight the importance of key bills moving forward in Sacramento that uphold the values of due process and inclusion. The local jail turned her over to ICE for deportation; SB 54, the CA Values Act, would make sure local resources aren't used to fuel the deportation of people like Yazmin and countless others at risk from Trump’s threats.
Yazmin’s story exemplifies the ongoing criminalization of domestic violence survivors who need rehabilitation, not incarceration. In the face of a new administration community members will stand united for immigrant justice and for the prompt liberation of loved ones who have been torn apart from their families.