Free the Families!

I am a volunteer with Freedom for Immigrants, a national nonprofit that visits and monitors immigration detention facilities. I have been visiting Jose for the last 9 months while he has been locked up and working toward his freedom. In fact, Freedom for Immigrants has been working for years to secure the release of asylum seekers (essentially refugees), victims of human trafficking, mothers, fathers, and children from immigration detention through immigration bonds and other forms of release.

Yesterday about 6:30 pm, Jose walked out that infamous door in the reception area of the West County Detention Facility, an immigrant jail for parents and other adult immigrants. I was waiting with open arms and still wondering myself if this was all really happening. I think Jose still thought he was dreaming. I told him it was true and I was there to take him home. I tried explaining that although we had raised about $5,000, an organization stepped up to pay the balance of $15,000 on his immigration bond, setting him free.

What an experience for me to have Jose riding along next to me in my car instead of a glass plate window between us in the visitation room of the jail. As we drove out of the parking lot and drove down the street, he looked out the car window at the hills and the sky and said that the world now looked so beautiful to him and how much he had missed it.

Jose's reunion with his daughter was an unbelievable moment. She did not know that he had been released and did not know he was coming to visit her. She was outside playing and she spotted him the minute he got out of the car and came running to him calling "papa, papa!" It is hard for me to even write about this. I was beside myself and will never forget it as long as I live.

All of a sudden, everything that I had been hearing on the media these past few days, about all the horrific stories of the separated families, hit me like a brick wall. I suddenly realized that Jose had been one of these parents all along who had been taken from his daughter who he loved so very much and it dawned on me how much she loved and missed him.

The Trump administration’s new executive order to lock up parents with their children in immigrant prisons and jails is not a solution. We must free these families.

I know Americans want an immediate solution to this current brutality of ripping families apart, but the Trump administration’s executive order to detain families together indefinitely is unacceptable. But you can help #FreeTheFamilies right now with a donation. 100% of your donation will go to free people like Jose through Freedom for Immigrants. Please donate now.

Linda Olvera

Freedom for Immigrants is formerly known as Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit California corporation that is recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt. You can learn more at

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Linda Olvera
Oakland, CA
Community Initiatives For Visiting Immigrants In Confinement
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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