LOGAN SQUARE — For two weeks, 13-year-old Jasmin couldn’t sleep at night.
The teenager has been up worrying about her father, who was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents earlier this month.
But Thursday, Jasmin’s father came home and she was able to sleep soundly — with her father lying next to her, her mom said.
Jasmin’s father was released from immigration detention Thursday, thanks in part to neighbors who donated thousands to pay his bail and raised awareness about his arrest. Block Club is not naming the man because he is undocumented.
Friday morning, Logan Square leaders and immigration activists rallied around the father and his family at a press conference and “know your rights” demonstration in front of Chase Elementary School, 2021 N. Point St. The man is a parent of Chase students and was arrested near the school.
“What we’ve realized is we have a virus in our community that is just as insidious as COVID-19. And that virus is ICE, and it’s going to take the work of our whole community to uproot and get that virus out of here,” Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) said.
La Spata was joined by leaders of Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Organized Communities Against Deportation and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
“This family was able to get their family member back quickly because this community was organized to do so. We need to do that all the time,” said Norma Rios, board president at Logan Square Neighborhood Association.
“This is not going to be the last time and we need to be ready. As long as this administration is in office, we need to be ready to fight this.”
Jasmine’s dad was arrested around 6:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at California Avenue and Point Street.
The man, who is in his 30s, was driving to pick up popcorn for a movie night at home with his wife, their 13-year-old daughter and 6-year-old grandson in the car when an ICE agent pulled them over and took him into custody.
ICE spokeswoman Nicole Alberico previously said the man was arrested for being an “unlawfully present national of Mexico.” She also said the man was convicted of a drug charge in 2003.
“They’re bringing up any little thing they could bring up,” the man’s wife previously said. “It was 2003. That was 17 years ago. It’s because he was smoking marijuana when he was young. … Is this the cause? He’s a monster to society? Because I don’t know what to say.”
After the arrest, Chase Elementary teachers and staffers put out a call for donations and raised $9,000 in just one day. Some of that money went toward paying the man’s $2,000 bail.
The man said Friday when he found out about the donations, he was so excited that he immediately told all of the other detainees.
“They were like, ‘The community, God is giving you another chance to stay with your family,'” the man’s wife said, translating for her husband, who speaks Spanish. The man’s wife declined to be named for privacy reasons.
The man said it was “hard” to be in detention, away from his family and surrounded by other detainees who were “crying and sad because their families are out here.” He would ask his wife to check on the families of other people who’d been detained.
“We were home all day. We were eating, talking,” the man’s wife said. “It’s sad. It’s sad to hear stories from people inside. … husbands sad and crying because they don’t know if they are going to be homeless because they were the providers, if their kids are eating and everyone’s OK.”
The first thing he did when he got home was enjoy a meal prepared by his wife: pastor, or Mexican-style pork, with hot sauce, tortillas and soup. He said missed his wife’s cooking.
The man returned to work Friday. He and his wife run a home-cleaning business they launched four years ago.
The man left his hometown of Puebla, Mexico and moved to Chicago in 2000, according to the man’s wife and an ICE spokeswoman. In recent years, he was working on securing his citizenship status, but his wife said they came up short when it came time to hire a lawyer.
While in detention, the man said his dream of leaving Chicago and buying a home for his family in suburban Willow Springs came into focus, but that dream will have to wait.
Amina Najib, the man’s attorney, previously said his deportation case could drag on for three to five years with the way the courts are operating amid the pandemic.
“The girls are growing. We’re scared because there’s a lot of gang activity, a lot of violence in the community. … But we have to wait. …,” the man’s wife said, trailing off.
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