ICE detained Eduardo Gualajara Castro, a father of 4 and small business owner, when he went to pay a traffic ticket at the Walworth County Courthouse
LAKE GENEVA, WISCONSIN – On Tuesday, the family of Eduardo Gualajara Castro and Voces de la Frontera launched an online petition to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Louisiana Field Office Director David D. Rivera urging him to use his administrative power to release Eduardo from ICE detention. Eduardo was detained on April 25th at the Walworth County Courthouse in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, after he went there to pay a traffic ticket. Click here to see the petition.
Eduardo is a father of four US Citizen children and the owner of a small business which employs three workers, Edward’s Pallets, and has lived in Lake Geneva for over 17 years. He is currently applying for a U Visa, which protects victims of crimes and their family members. ICE recently moved Eduardo to a detention center in Louisiana, thousands of miles from his family, indicating that they plan to deport him quickly.
“ICE is seeking to deprive our children of their father,” said Eduardo’s wife Adriana Robles. “They are depriving him of the chance to be with his children. To do this to him while his visa application is in process is a grave violation of his rights. My husband is a hard worker, someone who has provided jobs for others while trying to do better for himself and his family.”
Around the country, ICE has arrested scores of community members in courthouses who have come forward to seek protection, pay tickets, and access the justice system. Protests led ICE to halt courthouse arrests under the Obama Administration, but Trump has brought ICE back into the courts with a vengeance. While Eduardo did receive a ticket for DUI over 12 years ago, he quickly paid the fine and attended the required classes. He has never had any other encounters with law enforcement except a ticket for driving without a license. ICE has thus far refused to consider Eduardo for an immigration bond, saying he was ordered removed from the US over twenty years ago after trying to enter the country. However, this does not change his eligibility for the U Visa.
“What is happening to Eduardo and his family shows a disturbing trend of ICE resuming their presence in courthouses, after Voces de la Frontera and the national ACLU organized to push them out in 2014,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “They have returned to sensitive areas where they shouldn’t be, and they are clearly trolling through traffic citation court records looking for immigrant community members. Eduardo is a loving father, the employer of 3 people, and has a pending U Visa application. His deportation is fueled by hate. Separating someone like Eduardo from his family will only harm his community and traumatize his children.”
Voces de la Frontera is a membership-based community organization led by low-wage workers, immigrants and students, whose mission is to protect and expand civil rights and workers’ rights through leadership development and community organizing. Voces’ student arm is Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES). To learn more visit vdlf.org. Follow @voces_