During what they expected to be a routine interview on the way to getting a green card, Jose Ivan Nuñez was arrested in front of his husband by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials this past January.
The couple’s happiness has quickly turned to panic for fear that Nuñez’s life could be in danger were he to return to Mexico, due to his sexual orientation. A petition named #FreeIvan has been started for the couple by GALALEI, a social justice organization out of Philadelphia, and Latino immigrant advocacy group Juntos (which means “together” in Spanish.) The hope is to reunite Nuñez with his husband and keep him away from possible danger.
“By detaining Ivan and potentially deporting him, Ivan’s wellbeing and safety will be jeopardized. Ivan fled his hometown in Mexico due to fear of being harmed,” the petition states. “Ivan’s sister, who is also gay, is currently in hiding due to the same fears and he has close friends who have been assaulted for being gay.”
The worst part for the couple seems to be that they didn’t see this coming at all and felt ambushed by the meeting. Frames, Nuñez’s husband, describes feeling “no suspicions at all” the day of the hearing, and reports that “…every day and every hour I think of Ivan.”
After the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in 2015, the Obama administration, agreed to reopen cases where DOMA had harmed people, like being unable to sponsor green cards for their partners because they could not be married.
The Trump administration has taken a much harsher stance on immigration, as mirrored by his campaign rhetoric. In 2015, during the launch of his presidential bid at Trump Towers in New York, then-candidate Trump said of Mexican immigrants:
“They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, and some, I assume are good people.”
What’s more, the Supreme Court just upheld a circuit court’s decision saying that immigrants can be detained indefinitely without bail hearings, regardless of legal immigration or green card status.
It is time to shine a light on these injustices.
Image provided via Wikimedia Commons