In November 2017, a member of our True North family was detained by ICE during a routine immigration check-in. Claudia Portillo is an Arcata resident and mother of four. In response, our leaders organized a fundraiser to cover her expenses and invited community members to attend a vigil for Claudia on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. on the Arcata Plaza to show her that she is not alone.
Claudia has been detained in the Contra Costa West County Detention Center, which, according to the San Francisco Chronicle article Lost Coast Outpost referenced in its recent story is known for its harsh conditions. Inmates in this detention center “are locked up for 23 hours before they can leave their cells, which hold one or two inmates.” Later, she was moved to a detention center in Bakersfield. Her sister, Jenny Ventura, had recently given testimony of Claudia’s story at the Unity Action on Immigration at the Eureka First United Methodist Church on September 11, 2017, speaking to many undocumented families’ fears of deportation.
“My sister, a hard working woman with four beautiful daughters is now faced with those same feelings. In a couple of weeks she has an appointment with Immigration in San Francisco... and to be honest, we don’t know what’s going to happen there. We don’t know if she’s going to walk out of that building with us to be in the car on the drive back home. Right now the fear is that they’ll be sending her back to a country filled with crime. The very same country that my mother tried saving her from. This is all due to the fact that she lost her privilege of having a work permit because she missed a signature, one signature on a form. That’s how broken our system is when it comes to Immigration.”
That fear became reality when Claudia was detained by ICE and sent to a detention facility. True North Organizing Network leaders, staff, faith/spiritual leaders and clergy believe that when we stand up for the dignity and rights of a person or particular group of people, we stand up for the dignity and rights of all people. As a network, we have committed to provide continued support to Claudia, her family and her community.
If you can provide financial support to the family, GoFundMe campaign “Claudia’s Deportation Defense” will help raise funds for travel to the Bay Area and for Claudia’s legal fees. The goal was to raise $7,000 initially, and to raise more if an immigration judge grants Claudia a bond hearing.