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Community Coalition in Support of Asylees

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Are you concerned about parents and children incarcerated at the border?

You can help!

Here’s why we’re asking you to donate:
Last year, many caring people in La Plata County were appalled at the treatment of families and children at the border.  We wondered, “What effective action can we take?” 

Short answer:  many children and adults cannot be released without a sponsor, and there are many expenses and responsibilities involved in that.  The Community Coalition in Support of Asylees will bring a team effort to support sponsors accepting asylees.   

 And now we have results!  Our first family has arrived!

 The husband, Leo, and wife, Ellie were separated at the border and put in detention in Tucson, AZ in January. Because Ellie was pregnant, she was put in isolation (to “protect her from COVID”) for eight  months. Meanwhile, Leo struggled with the noise of almost 300 other detainees in the larger detention facility. As he put it, “She suffered in silence, while I was constantly surrounded by noise!”

 And . . .  before their 8 months incarcerated at the border they traveled through 15 countries and endured 3 months of detention in Mexico. Ellie tested negative for COVID before a brief hospital stay to have their baby, Emily, then returned to her solitary confinement.

Why did the family leave Cuba?
Leo said, “Cuba es un paraiso para turistas, pero un infierno para familias.” (Cuba is heaven for tourists but hell for Cuban families). The economy is struggling.  Ellie shared that there may be a line blocks long to get some chicken--and if you take a picture or video, you may lose your phone or even be arrested. Only party members or those in favor may have a car or house.  Leo was pressured to work undercover for the police to catch offenses of friends & neighbors.  He refused multiple times, and was threatened, incarcerated for three days and beat up (including a broken elbow). The couple have two older daughters, 8 and 12, and being out of favor with the government could affect them as well.  Leo feared being locked up for longer, or “disappeared.” The couple left their children with their grandmother and left with a VISA to visit a sister in Chile. They encountered violence there, and in many other countries as they made their way north, “Hay mucha violencia contra inmigrantes” (There is a lot of violence toward immigrants).

 Current status and goals
Leo was granted asylum and was released, but was not allowed to see his wife and baby until ten days ago.  Ellie is on “parole” pending final court dates, but the fact that her husband has been granted asylum will help her case.  They arrived in Durango a week ago, and the team is working on multiple goals to help them:

●       learn English and find work
●       transfer Ellie’s legal case and help with travel to court dates in Denver
●       get familiar with Durango, save for housing
●       the team will help with food, medical expenses, travel and other living expenses
          until the family is “on their feet.”
●       help the family reunite with their older daughters

 Resources we already have:  transitional housing!
A local family in the Community Coalition has provided an isolated space for them in their home for two weeks while they quarantined for COVID.  Leo, Ellie, and their infant had all tested negative for COVID before flying here but had possible exposure due to air travel from Tucson to Durango). The Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship of Durango is generously giving the family temporary housing in Columbine House, a building on their campus used for meetings and children’s programs.  With the UU campus closed due to COVID, this has been an opportunity for the Fellowship to further social justice values.

About the Community Coalition team
The UU  Immigration Team had initiated the Community Coalition partnership, modeled after a national UU initiative called CAPAS,[email redacted]%20if%20you%20would%20like%20to%20join%20our%20team!%20%20%20We%20deeply%20appreciate%20your%20donation!!%20%20Please%20help%20us%20to%20help%20Leo,%20Ellie%20and%20baby%20Emily%20begin%20a%20life%20free%20from%20persecution%20and%20reunite%20with%20their%20other%20daughters..%20%20Our%20goal%20is%20to%20raise%20$7,000%20to%20support%20the%20family%20through%20the%20next%20six%20months%20(a%20low%20average%20time%20needed%20to%20transition%20based%20on%20other%20communities%20hosting%20families).%20%20%20Your%20generosity%20and%20the%20gifts%20of%20many%20others%20will%20help%20get%20this%20family%20start%20their%20new%20life%20in%20Durango.%20%20%20The%20goal%20of%20our%20coalition%20is%20to%20support%20families%20in%20process%20or%20confirmed%20for%20asylum%20to%20leave%20detention%20by%20providing%20a%20sponsor.%20%20The%20best%20way%20to%20get%20children%20released%20is%20to%20help%20their%20parents%20%20*Asylees%20are%20refugees%20seeking%20legal%20asylum%20at%20the%20border." target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Asylum is a Human Right UUSCS Congregational Accompaniment Project for Asylum Seekers Capas 

 Membership and participation in the team includes members of six different churches and interested community members as well as participation from Compañeros (immigrant rights advocate organization).
Contact Liza Tregillus if you would like to join our team!

 We deeply appreciate your donation!

Please help us to help Leo, Ellie and baby Emily begin a life free from persecution and reunite with their other daughters..  Our goal is to raise $7,000 to support the family through the next six months (a low average time needed to transition based on other communities hosting families).

Your generosity and the gifts of many others will help get this family start their new life in Durango. 

The goal of our coalition is to support families in process or confirmed for asylum to leave detention by providing a sponsor.  The best way to get children released is to help their parents.

 *Asylees are refugees seeking legal asylum at the border.


  • Kathleen Adams
    • $200 
    • 4 yrs
  • lorraine mccleary
    • $200 
    • 4 yrs
  • Robbin and Dan Clark
    • $200 
    • 4 yrs
  • Carolyn and Tim Miller
    • $100 
    • 4 yrs
  • Allison Andersen
    • $100 
    • 4 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Liza Tregillus
Durango, CO
Karla Barrera

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