When Baltazar Aburto Gutierrez heard someone calling him by a nickname only his friends use, he turned to see who might also be shopping at the local grocery store before dawn that November morning. It was 4:00 a.m. and Rosas was picking up some breakfast. He was on his way home after a long night out on the clam beds of Willapa Bay. For more than a dozen years he has worked there, not far from his home in Ocean Park, Washington – a tiny town on the remote Long Beach Peninsula in the southwestern corner of the state.
"You're the one in the newspaper, right?" This was not a friend after all. It was an ICE agent who quickly shackled Rosas and sped him off to a federal prison. Rosas has lived on the Long Beach Peninsula for 18 years. He had, indeed, given his nickname to a local reporter during an interview last summer. His long-time girlfriend, Gladys, had been arrested in an apparent sting operation by ICE agents who had arranged a meeting to buy some piñatas she and her young daughters make. Gladys was handcuffed and taken away as her daughters, aged 4, 7, and 12, looked on.
Gladys, the first mother to be taken by ICE from this tiny community, was deported to Mexico last summer; the girls followed as soon as transportation could be arranged. Rosas has been supporting his family from here, sending Gladys his paychecks and talking with them by telephone several times a day. When alerted about Rosas' arrest, Gladys burst into tears. "How will we live?" she cried. "How will I feed my girls?" Meanwhile, from the federal prison in Tacoma, Washington, Rosas awaits a court date as an outraged community looks for ways to help.
Funds will be used for costs surrounding deportation, family needs, lawyers and/or bond costs which alone could be over $20,000. All donations are incredibly appreciated and will help the family move forward during this difficult time.
Media links to their story:
Original Chinook Observer Story
Seattle Times Article About Rosas' Arrest
Seattle Times Editorial Board
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