This is what freedom looks like!
Jason is a 32-year-old LGBT asylum-seeker from Namibia. He arrived at the US-Mexico border on the 4th of July in 2015 and declared his intent to seek safety from violence and discrimination in his home country. He was sent immediately to immigration detention, where he remained for the next 3.5 years.
We met Jason through Friends of Orange County Detainees and Freedom for Immigrants, and we began visiting him and corresponding with him. Jackie visited him every week for the past 19 months.
Read a beautiful story he wrote and mailed to us about his childhood in Namibia, where he describes being different and bullied for being a "zoba" (geek), with his best friend and companion by his side to support him, his dog:https://imm-print.com/stand-by-or-cry-everybody-can-redeem-themselves-even-dogs-72f92fbad4e5
Jason loves dogs, music, reading and writing. He has recently read Nelson Mandela's biography and Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. He is brilliant, kind, and soft-spoken, and has remained optimistic during his extensive time detained. However, we have seen his physical and emotional well-being deteriorate rapidly, especially over the past year.
Our community has since, and beautifully, rallied around Jason, with help from the LGBT Center of OC, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and the Western State College of Law Immigration Clinic, pro bono. We have found him a sponsor, Erika Worth, in Portland, where she has a room for Jason and four dogs to share their love and to help him begin a new life.On December 17th, he was granted a $2,500 bond, we paid it, and he was released! Your support made his freedom today possible!
Because he is gay, he spent much of his time in detention in segregation, isolated in a windowless room for 22 hours a day. During his 3.5 years in detention, he depleted all of his funds. Now that he is released, he will continue fighting to win his asylum case from outside detention and he will need continued community support. On December 19th, Jason made it to Portland and is now home with Erika for the holidays! But he still needs support. Please help us support Jason in starting his new life in the US.
Jason is settling into his new space and "can't stop smiling"
... but there is a long road ahead as we still need to locate local legal aid and community support, as well as basic living necessities.
He is unable to work or pay for legal aid as his case continues. Funds we raise here will go towards paying off his bond and for basic living expenses, clothing, and transportation to Portland and to immigration court.
Thank you for supporting Jason, making a huge impact in his life, and bringing him the hope and joy that he has already brought us.