Community joins elderly Filipino in deportation fight

LOS ANGELES — It starts with some prayer, a unity clap, and activists on standby outside the immigration court, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

On this day, the Pilipino Workers Center accompanied 64-year-old Filipino, Mang Eddie, to his immigration check-in.

Over a decade ago, Mang Eddie was trying to apply for permanent residency, he was misled by a notario into applying for asylum, which he did not qualify for.

While an asylum application gets applicants work permits quickly, a rejected one can automatically put a migrant in deportation proceedings.

And for the past four years, the elderly father of four with health issues had to walk into court, asking for a reprieve.

But with reports of detainment and arrests during so-called ICE check-ins, a trip to the courthouse has become a scary moment for some immigrants.

“He’s had to ask for prosecutorial discretion and today since the Trump administration has come into office, ICE check-ins, more and more people are being detained at ICE check-ins and less and less are given prosecutorial discretion… so it’s really important for us to come together as a community, to support him,” said Aqui Versoza Soriano.

And less than 2 hours, later, a sigh of relief.

While Mang Eddie’s case has a fighting chance through the courts, recent Southern California cases of Filipinos in deportation proceedings ended with very little hope.

The Pilipino Workers Center has monitored several cases since the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

Earlier this month, they said a Filipino worker was forced into a voluntary departure.

“They don’t know the full range of their rights and they are able to fight their case, and they should get legal representation. a lot of times they get very afraid, and think they have limited options so they end up doing what immigration officers want them to do, even if it might not be the best thing for them.”

And with Mang Eddie, walking as a free man, he continues to have the support as he fights his case, with advocates walking alongside him at every court date.

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  • Mario
    28 September 2018 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    OBAMA deported 3 Million in 8 years, equivalent to 1,000/day. Trump deportation average is 25/day, because DOJ,DHS,ICE convince the illegal to go back on VOLUNTARY Deportation. Being deported means the Gov’t buys your ticket, but it will take you 15 years or never to come back. While Voluntary Deportation , you buy your own ticket, they said you can come back after 10 years, I don’t know if this true. Pinoy chooses voluntary deportation. But if you are over 60 years old, your days is over, if you go back in PH, where do you get your free maintenance medicine in PH, No way your children will send you monthly allowance… They have their own life…