Dear ACLU supporter,Using misinformation, deception, and coercion, Border Patrol and immigration agents have pressured hundreds, if not thousands, of Mexican nationals with deep roots here in the United States into forfeiting their right to a fair hearing and a chance to live here lawfully. The ACLU challenged the practice that we call "coerced expulsion" in federal court today.
Call our hotline (619.398.4189) or fill our our online form if you or anyone you know has experienced the deceptive practice the government calls "voluntary departure."There is nothing voluntary about expelling people unjustly, and the worst of it is, our tax dollars are being used to trick individuals into signing away their rights and ripping families apart. This is inconsistent with Americans' values.
Gerardo Hernandez-Contreras was recently pulled over by a San Diego police officer for talking on his cell phone. Because Gerardo did not have proper identification with him, the police officer called immigration agents, who quickly handcuffed him and took him into custody. His wife Aide rushed to the scene and had their lawyer on the phone, who warned under no circumstances to sign anything.But the agents threatened that if Gerardo refused to sign a so-called "voluntary departure" form, he could be detained for months before seeing an immigration judge. Gerardo was never told that he could be released on his own recognizance or bond if he chose not to agree to "voluntary departure." He was also never informed that once he signed the expulsion form, he would not be able to reenter the United States for ten years.
Terrified, Gerardo signed the form, believing, as the agents told him, that he could "fix his papers" once he arrived in Mexico. At 2 a.m., just hours after being stopped for talking on his cell phone, he was left in Tijuana. Gerardo, who has lived in San Diego since he was 14 years old, had no ties to Tijuana. Sadly, this is a common occurrence in San Diego."Our lives are broken now," said Gerardo's wife, Aide.
How can you help?Call our hotline (619.398.4189) or fill our our online form if you or anyone you know has experienced the deceptive practice the government calls "voluntary departure."
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- Watch and share Cuentame's "Rampant Border Patrol Abuse Exposed" video (on YouTube), detailing the horrendous governmental practice of deceiving Mexican nationals into signing away their right to a fair hearing.
Thank you for your support,Norma Chavez-Peterson
ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties