Press Releases

Motions Filed to Reopen Immigration Case of Detained Teamster

Take action for Eber: Call ICE now

The attorney of Eber Garcia Vasquez filed motions today before the Board of Immigration Appeals to stop his client’s deportation and to reopen his case to stay in the country. Garcia Vasquez is a private sanitation worker in New York City and a long-time member of the Teamsters union who was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on August 24th. His wife and three of his children are U.S. citizens and that gives Garcia Vasquez a path to a Green Card, but ICE is trying to deport him before he can complete that process.

Zachary Sanders, Garcia Vasquez’s attorney, filed two motions at the Board of Immigration Appeals – one for an emergency stay of removal and a second to reopen his immigration court proceedings because of his ongoing application for a Green Card that was not present when his case was last heard in 2012.

“The law is clear that Eber is eligible to become a legal permanent resident and it makes no sense to deport him as that application is being reviewed,” said Sanders. “He has a strong case to stay and we hope that the Board of Immigration Appeals will consider Eber’s compelling circumstances.”

Garcia Vasquez came to U.S. in the 1980s, fleeing violence in his homeland. Several of his family members in Guatemala, including his mother, have been killed. He fears for his life if he is forced to return.

“Eber has spent most of his life in this country and has always played by the rules,” said Maria Chavez, Eber Garcia Vasquez’s wife. “We are an American family. He is a wonderful father and husband and we depend on him. We need ICE to release him while he goes through the process to get his Green Card.”

Garcia Vasquez’s wife and children depend on his union job, and their lives will be thrown into chaos if he is deported. His wife was recently in a car crash and is now in a wheelchair.

He was detained during a routine appointment with ICE that he has made annually for four years, to submit paperwork to extend his stay of deportation. On Tuesday, his family was joined at a press conference by labor leaders, immigrant advocates, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and other elected officials and supporters.

Garcia Vasquez has been a member of Teamsters Local 813 for 26 years working in sanitation for the medical waste hauler Stericycle in New York.

“We are proud to call Eber a member of the Teamsters union and we will not stand by while he is taken from his family,” said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, which represents 120,000 workers in downstate New York. “This story is playing out across the country and these deportations are weakening our economy and our communities. The Teamsters stand with immigrant workers. We call on ICE to release Eber Garcia Vasquez to his family and his union.”

The Teamsters and allies are organizing supporters to call ICE and demand Garcia Vasquez’ release. Hundreds of calls have already been made to the ICE officials responsible for his case. The Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition, which advocates for sanitation workers, called for a “day of action” Friday in support of his release.

“Yet again, an immigrant with decades-long roots in this country and a viable path to legal permanent residency is detained by ICE in the most arbitrary manner.  This level of inhumanity needs to stop.  Eber Garcia Vasquez is a respected worker and deeply loved family man and his detention and deportation will serve no one,” said Angela Fernandez, Esq., Executive Director, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights joins his family and his union to stop this inhuman and immoral act by our government.”