For Immediate Release

Contacts: Niloufar Khonsari 925.785.8735,

               Rev. Deborah Lee 415.297.8222,

Groups celebrate release of Reylla, call for ICE to release thousands of others still detained 

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, as ICE admitted today, their separation of a breast-feeding mother from her sickly infant violated the agency’s own regulations.

“Only when ICE is publicly confronted with these cases do they choose to follow their stated regulations and priorities. Hundreds of families are torn apart every day in violation of Obama administration policies. These are people who, but for being deported today, could be on the road to citizenship tomorrow." – Niloufar Khonsari, Reylla’s immigration attorney

ICE detained Reylla last week. She has been 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 and aspiring pastor 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 in the process of reopening her asylum claim.