BENEFITING: PEOPLE ORGANIZED FOR WESTSIDE RENEWAL
In November, POWER leader Maria Sanchez was racially profiled and arrested by the Torrance Police while driving her neighbor to jury duty. She was immediately placed on an “ICE Hold,” simply because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wanted to further investigate her immigration status (they did not claim she was in the country illegally).
The same day, Torrance PD refused her family's attempt to post bail. The next day, after a judge ordered her release, they continued to hold her in jail anyway! After POWER members generated over 1,000 phone calls to the City of Torrance, Maria was finally released by ICE, who picked her up and released her because of the negative publicity their “ICE Hold” policy was receiving.
POWER leaders have fought for many years for the rights of immigrants, and Maria has been at the forefront of those fights. Now, she needs your support to overcome the unjust legal charges against her. Maria faces cases in both criminal and immigration court, and needs the best representation by lawyers who understand the overlaps between these two aspects of law. That's why we're establishing Maria's Legal Defense Fund.
Unfortunately, Maria's story isn't unique. There are thousands of immigrants, mostly Latinos, who can legally be denied bail simply because ICE wants to further investigate their immigration status. Local Police Departments have discretion whether or not to honor ICE holds, but many will use them as an excuse to detain Latinos and deny their civil liberties.
Maria, a single mother of five, has fought for immigrant rights for many years, and this experience has only reinforced her belief that we need to organize and fight back! Even now, Maria is working hard to organize her community to win changes that will realize the dream of pioneers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other who fought for equal protection under the law for all of us!
POWER will be leading more immigrants into direct action to win change in 2013. After we raise the money to defend Maria, we will use additional funds raised to support our campaign for immigrant rights and support immigrant leaders fighting for equal protections for all. Please donate generously to Maria's Defense Fund.