Queer political prisoner in detention needs your help!

This holiday season, give the gift of helping an inspiring young political prisoner be freed from the confines of the immigration detention center in Florence, AZ where she is currently held.  Her name is Estrellita and she is seeking help paying her bond, which she expects to be around $3500.  Here is what she writes:

“Hola, mi nombre es Estrellita y estoy detenida en Florence, AZ.  Yo necesito de su ayuda.  Mi familia me odia por ser homosexual, y no tengo el apoyo de nadie, solamente de Casa Mariposa y Raul.  Mi situacion es la siguiente:  Ya pedi asilo politico y ya fui a la entrevista y pase.  Lo unico que me falta es de la fianza y las cartas de apoyo.  Les boy a agradecer toda mi vida si me ayudar con la fianza.  Yo se que afuera hay angeles y se los boy a agradecer mucho.  Mi corte la tengo para el 31 de energo para lo de la fianza.  Ayudenme please please!”

“Hello, my name is Estrellita and I am detained in Florence, AZ.  I need your help.  My family hates me for being homosexual, and I do not have the help of anyone, only Casa Mariposa and Raul.  My situation is the following:  I asked for political asylum and went to my [credible fear] interview and passed.  The one things left are the bond and letters of support.  I will be grateful for all of my life if you help me with the bond.  I know that outside there are angels and I will appreciate them very much.  My court for bond is January 31.  Help me please please!”

The Rainbow Defense Fund will be collecting funds for Estrellita, with the goal of raising $3500 by January 31st so she can be released as soon as a bond is set.  Please donate online through Paypal or send a check made out to “Restoration Project, Florence” to:  Attn:  Rainbow Defense Fund; Casa Mariposa; 127 N. Palomas Ave; Tucson, AZ 85745.

Thank you so much!

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Support Marco be released from detention!

The following is an excerpt from a letter sent from inside an immigration detention center in Arizona.  Marco has spent 6 years in immigration detention.  Up until this point he has not had the opportunity to be released on bond.  Now, after 6 years, he has finally been cleared for release on bond, but he remains detained only because he lacks the funds.  Marco currently has $2430 out of $10,000 raised.  To donate please make checks out to “Restoration Project, Florence” with “Marco’s Bond” in the memo line and mail to:

Rainbow Defense Fund

c/o Restoration Project, Florence

340 S. 3rd Ave

Tucson, AZ 85701

Here is the letter:

“My name is Marco.  I am a native and citizen of Brazil.  I was born in San Paulo, Brazil.  I am submitting the following declaration to seek asylum based on my fear that, because I am a gay man, I will be beaten, tortured, or killed if I return to Brazil.  I am a gay man who has suffered greatly in Brazil.  My father is a powerful man who seeks to kill me because I am gay.  My father is a member of the Brazilian military and has connections with the security forces.  He seeks to suppress my sexuality and force me to live a life that is not truthful to my identity.  The government of Brazil will not stop him.  If returned to Brazil, I fear further persecution and possibly death on the hands of the security forces because I am not openly gay and do not repress my sexuality as required by these groups.

My persecution because of my sexual orientation started when I was a little boy when my father started to mistreat me.  Although I did not know what a gay person was, I felt and acted differently from other boys.  In school, other students made fun of me and called me a ‘fag.’  When I told my father, he beat me until I fell unconscious.  When I woke up, I found myself locked down in a basement room.  I was not allowed to come out of the room.  I was trapped.  My father ‘released’ me only after I promised not to dishonor him again.

My father’s abuse against me for being gay was constant.  One time, when I was a teenager, my father wanted to teach me a lesson to keep me from being gay.  My father put an instrument in his hand, sodomized me, and cut me in the anus.

Between the ages of 17 and 22, my persecution worsened.  I tried to become more comfortable with who I was by making gay friends and living in a gay community.  This turned out to be impossible.  Some of my gay friends disappeared.  I was beaten and harassed by the police and by my father.  My father even threatened to kill me if I continued to be gay.”

Marco father killed his male lover forced Marco into a heterosexual marriage.  He came to the United States in 1996 on a 6 month visa, which he overstayed in fear of returning to Brazil.  He navigated the immigration detention system for years without a lawyer and has languished in detention.  He is seeking asylum, but at his last hearing was not granted it, which he believes is because there was a gay pride parade in Brazil.  He writes:

“At my hearing, the judge kept asking me about the gay pride celebration in Brazil.  He kept saying that there were one million people there.  I did not fully understand the question.  But there is no doubt in my mind that a public celebration in one city once a year cannot protect me from my father, father-in-law, and police corruption.  My father wants to kill me because I can no longer conform to heterosexuality.  The Brazilian government will not protect me.”

Support Alex’s Bond and her Release from Abusive Immigration Detention Today!

Alexander is a young, bright and sweet 19 year-old transgender youth from Guatemala. She dreams of living, working, and studying in the United States. Alex has been detained in the Florence Service Processing Center since October 2011. Since Alex is transgender, she is more vulnerable and marginalized at the men’s facility where she is currently detained in. She has applied for political asylum on the basis of persecution due to her sexual orientation.

The good news is that in November, a judge granted her a bond for $5,000. Her family has fundraised $3,000—all Alex needs is $2,000 to be released while her asylum case is pending.

This is where we need your support!

Please take action and donate funds to have Alex released from detention. Alex must pay her bond by January 9th or risk prolonged detention. Your support will directly contribute to having one person no longer exposed to the systematic abuses LGBTQ prisoners face in immigration detention.

  • Please donate to Alex’s bond!  Mail checks to:

The Rainbow Defense Fund

317 W. 23rd St.

Tucson, AZ 85713

(pay to the order of “Corazón de Tucson”, memo line: “Alexander’s Bond”)

Thanks!

-The Rainbow Defense Fund

Email: rainbowdefensefund@gmail.com Website: www.rainbowdefensefund.wordpress.com

by Melanie Cervantes