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New Yorkers Demand ICE Release Eber Garcia Vasquez

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 Unions, advocates for the immigrant community, and elected officials are demanding the release of Eber Garcia Vasquez, a private sanitation worker and a long-time member of the Teamsters union. Garcia Vasquez was detained on August 24th and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to deport him. 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.

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. His family spoke at the press conference.

“He’s done nothing to deserve this,” said Maria Chavez, Eber’s Garcia Vasquez’s wife. “He is a wonderful father and husband. I was recently in a car crash and depend on Eber. We all do. 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 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 Monday, his attorney filed a Stay of Removal to stop his imminent deportation.

“ICE should not be trying to deport someone who is eligible for a Green Card and is on his way to getting it,” said Zachary Sanders, Garcia Vasquez’s attorney. “He has a family to support and a community that values him. I am hearing from so many of his coworkers and neighbors that want him to stay. ICE has the discretion to release him as his case moves forward and they should do just that.”

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 going to do everything in our power to support Eber and keep his family together,” said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, which represents 120,000 workers in downstate New York. “Our union stands with immigrant New Yorkers and against the hostile actions of the Trump administration. Eber is a valued and long-time Teamster. ICE should release him immediately.”

“This year, we have seen an increase of attacks on our immigrant brothers and sisters in the form of ICE detentions at homes, job-sites, and schools,” said Ron Herrera, Director of the Teamsters Waste Division. “Unfortunately last week, our brother Eber Garcia Vasquez from Local 813 fell victim to this type of action when he was detained after a routine check in with ICE. These actions harm our economy, destroy our communities, tear families apart, and do not embody the values that we hold as Teamsters. As Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters Local 396 and Director of the Teamsters National Solid Waste and Recycling Division, I encourage my Teamster brothers and sisters, regardless of your industry, status, or personal background, to stand with our sisters and brothers in the immigrant community, as they face an unprecedented attack on their basic rights and their ability to provide for themselves and their families.”

The Teamsters and allies are organizing supporters to call ICE and demand Garcia Vasquez’ 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.”

“Our government refuses to do the hard work of fixing our broken immigration system, instead opting to scapegoat and criminalize working men and women, many of whom work hard and contribute to our communities. Families cannot be collateral damage,” said Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.  “New York City labor is standing with Brother Eber, and the Teamsters, to call for his immediate release, and for him to be reunited with his family now.”

Prominent elected officials and New York community leaders are speaking out in support of Garcia Vasquez’s release.

“Tearing families apart is not what our country is about,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “Eber Garcia Vasquez is a productive member of our community and his story only underscores the ever-pressing need for comprehensive immigration reform. Rather than destabilizing families, the Trump administration needs to reorient its priorities and stop its hostility toward our immigrant communities. I stand with Eber, his family, and our Teamsters in urging the Department of Homeland Security to reverse course and keep Eber home where he belongs.”

“Tearing families apart through deportation serves no purpose other than to strike fear in the hearts of immigrant communities,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler. “ICE has the discretion to allow individuals like Eber Garcia Vasquez to continue to stay: protecting his family, his job, and his life here in America. They should use it.”

“Eber Garcia Vasquez deserves to have his case heard and granted the opportunity to apply for a Green Card,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “The immigrant community is under attack and it is shameful and disgraceful that the Trump Administration has denied Mr. Garcia Vasquez due process and ICE is moving forward to tear his family apart. Mr. Garcia Vasquez is a long-time member of Teamsters Local 813, a husband, father and grandfather and deserves to be treated fairly. This is not the America I know, and I vow to continue this fight, on behalf of Eber Garcia Vasquez and others like him, to ensure our country remains a beacon of hope and freedom for all.”

“No individual should be taken into custody and have their life upended for merely following the law,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Eber Garcia Vasquez has lived in New York for 25 years. He has raised a family here, worked directly with ICE agents to maintain his qualified residency status, and sustained gainful employment for nearly three decades. To abruptly detain a man who has remained upstanding and committed to finding a path to legal residency is a disgraceful action on the part of our immigration officials, and his incarceration is an affront to the many members of our immigrant community making valuable social contributions every day. I strongly denounce the actions of ICE in this circumstance, and stand with Teamsters Local 813 in calling for the quick release of Mr. Garcia Vasquez.”

“For decades, New Yorkers like Mr. Garcia Vasquez have been our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends, and fundamental to the fabric of our city,” said Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “Yet, this White House’s draconian immigration policies have been designed specifically to do one thing: tear families apart. Stepped-up ICE raids, rising enforcement, and Washington’s backwards approach to immigration don’t just instill fear nationwide. They undermine American values. That’s why we’re standing up for right over wrong.”

“Eber Garcia Vasquez and his family deserve to stay together,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration. “His detention while following ICE procedures and after 26 years in the United States is unjust.  His U.S. citizen wife and three children, his long time employment, and membership with the Teamsters prove he is a responsible and productive resident. He is eligible to become a permanent resident, and he can count on the full support of my office, and the New York City immigration rights community as he seeks resolution of his case. ”

“The struggle facing Eber Garcia Vazquez is the same facing Amanda Morales Guerra, is the same facing millions of immigrants across this country, due to an immigration policy designed to appease the most far-right factions of our country,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “As we struggle to keep these long-time New Yorkers with their families, we stand strongly against the unjust policies of the Trump administration that damages our communities and the moral standing of our country.”

“Mr. Vasquez is a father and a hard-working contributing member of our country.  I call upon  United States Immigration Enforcement to grant an order of stay to Eber Garcia Vasquez. He is a good and upstanding citizen,” stated Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, Chair of the Taskforce on New Americans. “ICE’s policies of separating families without consistent standards, oversight or accountability are unacceptable and do not align with our nation’s values of liberty and justice for all.”

“Time and again we have seen law abiding citizens show up to their regular check-ins with immigration authorities– as they are told they must– and time and again we have seen these innocent, contributing members of our society get tricked and trapped,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “I stand with the Vasquez family and Teamsters Local 813 in demanding this hardworking family man stay in this country so that he can provide for his wheelchair-bound wife and children and continue on his path to getting a Green Card. We must not allow this new administration to tear apart families and intimidate our communities and we will stand united in achieving rights for all.”

“Right now, countless immigrants in our country live in constant fear of experiencing what Eber Garcia Vasquez and his family are going through. It’s wrong and unacceptable. In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the Trump administration’s devastating and unjust attacks against immigrants. Too many families are being ripped apart by Trump’s cruel focus on detaining and deporting immigrants who make our country stronger and better. We proudly stand with all immigrant workers who are here to stay. This is their home. They deserve respect and gratitude,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN, an advocacy organization that builds alliances among labor, community, and environmental justice groups.

“The NYC Environmental Justice Alliance stands with our friends at the Teamsters as they fight for justice for Eber Garcia Vasquez and his family,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “The Trump administration’s oppressive immigration policies disrupt low-income communities and communities of color, who deserve to live safely and securely in livable, environmentally-just neighborhoods.”

“We join with our friends in labor and the waste industry in urging immigration officials to apply fairness, compassion and good judgment in deciding the fate of Eber Garcia Vasquez. And we call upon our Senators and Congressional Representatives to make their voices heard and assist Mr. Vasquez’s family in seeking justice as these distressing legal proceedings move forward,” said Eric A. Goldstein, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.