Media advisory for: 5:30 p.m., Wed. May 22, 2013


Niloufar Khonsari 925.785.8735

Rev. Deborah Lee 415.297.8222

Community groups urge ICE to free nursing mom cruelly separated from baby

As nine-month infant loses weight , groups stage vigil

Mom is a seminary school student and 8-year local resident

What: Community vigil calling for immigration officials to release Reylla Denis Ferraz Da Silva, a nursing mother of a nine-month old US citizen baby. Reylla has lived in the US for the past 8 years and is on the path to becoming a pastor; but is currently detained and at risk of deportation.

When: 5:30 PM, Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Where: 630 Sansome St, San Francisco

Who: Reylla’s husband, friends, members of her church (Message of Peace), and her immigration attorney, Niloufar Khonsari (founder of Pangea Legal Services), along with the SF and East Bay Interfaith Coalitions for Immigrant Rights (CLUE-CA).

Background: The case underscores a cosmic disparity between the Obama administration’s immigration rhetoric and the reality of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s cruel deportation policies, which target contributing community members who aspire to be citizens, but who have past deportation orders due to the nation’s lack of a common-sense immigration process. Moreover, ICE’s separation of a breast-feeding mother from her sickly infant appears to violate the agency’s own regulations.

ICE detained Reylla last week. She is being held at West County Jail in Richmond, CA. Since her imprisonment, she has had no contact with her baby, Enzo Gabriel, who has lost one pound because he has not been nursed and is not eating since his mother has been jailed by immigration authorities. Reylla is a peaceful community member who poses no risk to public safety whatsoever.

About Reylla: Reylla fled her home country, Brazil, in order to seek protection in the United States on account of politically and religiously motivated violence targeted against her. A devout Christian, she joined the Message of the Peace Church in South San Francisco, where she began her seminary schooling. She is on the path to becoming a Pastor and is also a hard-working domestic worker. She has paid taxes since her arrival. Reylla has no criminal record and volunteers her time and resources to help those in need in her community. As an active member of her church and a future pastor, she is a role model to many.

Reylla has been torn from her family solely for civil immigration issues. She did not appear for an immigration court hearing in 2005 due to fear of being forced to return to a place where she would face persecution. A lack of access to basic information in Portuguese exacerbated the situation. Six years later, in 2011, shortly after her marriage celebration to her husband, ICE officers raided Reylla’s home, and for the first time, informed her of the order of removal. Since that time she has complied with any ICE request to appear. She has an immigration case pending in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and is preparing to file her asylum claim.