Three months after the arrest of Ecuadorian immigrant Edisson Barros, a Queens councilman is calling on the law to halt Barros’ deportation.
On Wednesday, Aug. 8, Councilman Francisco Moya wrote a letter to Federal Immigration Judge Mirlande Tadal, urging her to put Barros’ deportation proceedings on hold and release him to his family. Barros is currently in custody at the Hudson Correctional Facility in Kearny, New Jersey.
“Mr. Barros came to the United States not to be a burden on taxpayers or take advantage of any system,” Moya wrote. “He came here without malice or corrupt intent. Mr. Barros came here out of a sense of duty to his family, to be a father to his U.S.-born daughters, and to provide them with financial and emotional support — as would any father capable of doing so.”
The cab driver and father, who lives in Maspeth with his family, was arrested in May according to a GoFundMe campaign organized by his 20-year-old daughter Paola. The young woman said that her father was trying to stop an irresponsible driver from running over the family dog when the driver became upset and got the NYPD involved. Barros was then arrested for “public disorder” and taken into ICE custody.
Paola added that since her father’s detainment, she has had to become the breadwinner for the family while attending CUNY Baruch College for finance and investments. The GoFundMe has earned $2,630 toward its $100,000 goal.
Moya, who is the only Ecuadorian American in the City Council and was the first Ecuadorian American elected to public office in the United States, said that Barros’ case holds personal sentiment for him. In the letter, he mentioned that August is Ecuadorian Heritage month and that Queens residents recently attended the Ecuadorian Independence Day parade.
“It strikes me that the Ecuadorians and immigrants from across the world not only celebrate their heritage and the freedom of their home countries on their respective independence days but also the communities and they’ve cultivated in their adoptive nations. Those days are celebrations of perseverance and of character forged in the crucible of difficult times,” the councilman said.
Paola said that her father has been suffering from diabetes symptoms while in Hudson and has not been provided with medical attention. She also said that he has not received glasses to account for his loss of vision. But ICE spokesperson Yong Yow said that the agency “takes very seriously the health, safety and welfare of those in our care.”
According to the Young Progressives of America Facebook page, the activist group will be holding a rally in front of Hudson Correctional Facility tonight to demand Barros’ release.