Francisco Silva was detained for 8 months at McHenry detention center while his wife began treatment for breast cancer. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic he was released but his case is not over yet.
Jesus Alberto spent 9 months in detention. After appealing ICE’s decision to deport him we won his release but his case is not over. We are asking USCIS to approve his DACA renewal application.
Francisco Morales has been detained at Dodge detention center since October 2018. His petition for asylum was approved in July 2019, but ICE appealed the judge’s decision so he hasn’t been released.
The gang database is a tool used by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to surveille, harass, and target Black and brown members of our community, particularly young men. It is also a tool that is used by the federal government to justify the deportation of our community members and a way that the City of Chicago collaborates indirectly with ICE. The goal of the ongoing campaign is to expose the flaws in the database, hold the CPD accountable for the misuse of it, and demand its elimination from law enforcement. OCAD is part of founding a coalition of organizations pushing for the elimination of this surveillance and criminalization tool. Learn more about the #ErasetheDatabase campaign.
OCAD believes that in order for the City of Chicago to be a true sanctuary, all residents, regardless of race or citizenship status, must feel safe and have what they need to thrive. As part of this work, OCAD, along with the Chicago Immigration Working Group, has pushed for the elimination of the carve- outs in the Welcoming City Ordinance of Chicago. These carve-outs allow the City of Chicago to collaborate with ICE to target criminalized people in our City. As part of this work, we have also supported campaigns that seek to draw resources away from law enforcement and invest them in the quality services that our communities need.
We are one of the few groups in Chicago organizing directly to stop deportations. We organize and harness our community power by hosting Know your Rights workshops that go beyond your typical content. We want people to know how to respond, be prepared, and really challenge the notion that policing keeps our communities safe. We want people to be prepared, not scared, and to feel prepared to fight back. You can support this campaign by spreading the word about our work or making a donation so we can keep going.
Genoveva’s case is one of OCAD’s first victories. After two decades in the US, she was pulled over by a police officer in Warren, IL for not using a turning light signal. She was subsequently sent to ICE who ordered her to be deported. Through community organizing, people’s signatures, and coordination with government officials, she was granted a temporary permit to stay in the US. During the Trump administration, her permit was revoked.OCAD supported her in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, something that takes a lot of courage. That same year, Genoveva got her U visa approved, is with her family and continues to fight for others. We believe she was targeted for her activism and this was a way to show that we will not be silent.
Mohamed Emad is a Palestinian undocumented immigrant who has lived in the US for over twenty years. The FBI had been working a case against one of Mohamed’s coworkers and, through their investigation, learned of Mohamed’s undocumented status. He was never associated with the case under investigation, but the FBI still issued a memo accusing him of “terrorist affiliations.” Mohamed was in a detention center for over a year and couldn’t be deported because he was considered “stateless” given his Palestinian nationality. We partnered with the Arab American Action Network, a badass group of Muslim and Arab organizers in Chicago, and the McArthur Justice Center, to highlight the ways that the government targets Muslim/Arab communities in the US. Mohamed was released in early 2019.
Wilmer Catalan had been residing in the US for over 10 years and, in March of 2017, ICE agents unlawfully entered his home without a criminal warrant or consent. ICE had conducted a raid based on false information obtained from the Chicago Police Department indicating Wilmer belonged to a street gang. Wilmer, who happened to be at home recovering from a fractured right skull and right shoulder, was further injured by ICE officials. While in custody, Wilmer was also denied assistance and access to healthcare, so his condition was getting worse. At one point, other detained people went on a hunger strike demanding his immediate release.
Wilmer’s partner, Celene, was at the forefront of the campaign to release Wilmer. She fearlessly led rallies, talks, workshops, media conferences, and helped us link our fight against the surveillance of Black and brown people to the fight to release her husband. Through this campaign we have been able to concretely demonstrate how the City of Chicago is complicit in the deportation of our communities, how police are an extension of the deportation pipeline, and the harms that surveillance technologies and databases cause. Wilmer is now with his family but the organizing that Celene and him started is far from over. Celene was recently diagnosed with cancer, you can help them by donating directly to them here.
There are many ways for you to get involved in the fight against the criminalization and deportation of our people. We all have a role to play in the fight for our liberation.
We’ve seen real power in action when we come together to ensure that the most criminalized amongst us aren’t left out of “reforms”. We’ve created a space for undocumented people to fight back and co-benefit from a network of support. We’ve also fought against policing and other parts of the deportation pipeline, and contributed to bringing criminalization to the forefront of the immigrant rights movement.