In the early morning hours of Monday, July 16, ICE raided an apartment building in Alexandria, VA. Israel, pictured above, happened to be in one of the buildings staying with friends. He was taking a shower when ICE agents entered the apartment and arrested him and two of the adults who lived there – in front of their children and other family members, who are deeply traumatized as a result.
The three detained individuals are now being held in separate jails across the state of Virginia. For privacy and safety reasons, two of them are not willing to make their names, faces and stories public – only Israel, who has lived in the United States for 15 years. He fled threats of violence in Guatemala after refusing to take part in gang activity. He has made a life for himself in the DC area, working as a painter, playing a lot of soccer, and getting along well with everyone in his community, so much so that many considered him a member of their family. Now, he has been taken away from that family, simply because he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Israel’s case is a classic example of a “collateral arrest” – an inhumane and indiscriminate practice in which ICE is looking for a specific individual to detain, but then sweeps up every undocumented person they come into contact with to maximize their numbers and hit their quotas.
In conjunction with our partners at Congregation Action Network and La ColectiVA, the funds raised by Sanctuary DMV through this GoFundMe will go to support legal fees for Israel and the two others detained in Alexandria on July 16. We are working to help them stop their deportations, regain their freedom, and reunite with their families. Please give as you’re able to help several local residents who need your support and solidarity now.