Our Deportation Defense Team teams up with CIYJA for liberation and justice!
Background: Jose Juan Erazo Herrera came to the U.S as an unaccompanied minor in 2016. He had been suffering from child abuse from his mother and eventually became homeless in El Salvador, which made him susceptible to police violence and gangs threatening his life. When Juan Jose entered the U.S he was apprehended by ICE at the Texas border and released to his brother in New York.
In February 2017, police profiled him as a gang member—without any evidence—and arrested him for being present during an assault on a classmate. He spent 6 months in county jail and another 6 months in juvenile hall as a result. When he was released, ICE picked him up and brought him to Yolo County (ORR “secure” facility) here in California.
Juan Jose has been in immigration detention for 1 year now and 1 year in juvenile detention and county jail. He has lost 2 years of his life to this system that does not work to repair harm. He was 17 years old the last time he was free and turned 19 yrs on March 15th.
Juan Jose was only ever in the juvenile justice system, and in the state of New York, there is a state law that prohibits the disclosure of juvenile justice records, and yet New York correctional officials illegally released these records to ICE, who used them during his immigration bond hearing as evidence that he was allegedly a gang member and a danger to the community. His bond was denied.
Juan Jose has been fighting for his freedom inside detention and has taken part in two hunger strikes that happened in Yuba where detainees were demanding better conditions. At his last court, he was on strike and had not eaten for 72 hours.
When I visited him with his attorney he had just received the news that his asylum had been denied and was very sad and disillusioned.
I spoke to him about CIYJA and told him the community we have been able to build and support throughout these campaigns, he smiled and said "If you all are willing to fight for me, then why can't I"
Juan Jose is willing to continue fighting for his freedom, and he needs our support!
How you can support:
Write a letter to him!
(email me and I can send you his information or send him your letter from our CIYJA office)
Share his story! Get others to support him so we can build a strong #FREEJUANJOSE team!
Stay in touch through social media for updates on upcoming court hearings! @CIYJA !!
In Community ,
Itzel C. Medina Pronouns: She/Her/Ella
Deportation Defense Organizer
California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance
m:510 285 6965
a:385 Grand Ave Suite 201, Oakland, CA 94601