See the text of the new letter below the poster.
Dear Attorney General Lynch, U.S. Attorney Williams, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nyhus,
We undersigned labor, faith, immigrant rights, and civil rights organizations are following up on the previous letter sent on September 8, 2015 and write to ask that you dismiss the reentry charges currently against Portland labor leader Francisco Aguirre (docket case: #3:14-cr-00400-JO-1). In addition to the concerns mentioned in the previous letter, we wanted to highlight the recent tragic murder in El Salvador of Mr. Aguirre’s 19-year-old son Denis Moises Escalante Aguirre, known as Moises by his friends and family.
Francisco was told by Salvadoran police that Moises had been playing soccer with friends when two men called his name. When he answered, they told him that they were ordered to kill him and shot him sixteen times. His legs almost fell apart from his body due to the impact of the shooting. Horrifically, Moises is just one of many close family members of Mr. Aguirre who have died from the violence in El Salvador.
Moises had been living in Oregon with his father after asking for asylum himself. He had become well-known by activists in Portland and accompanied his father in his work in the community. However, Moises had been so traumatized by his experiences in a child refugee detention center and was terrified by the targeting of his father by DHS and also the prosecution by DOJ, that he became convinced he would end up imprisoned again if he stayed in the United States. Moises begged to return to El Salvador and did so in July 2015. He was dead a little over six months later.
While Mr. Aguirre mourns his son and must explain their brother’s vicious murder to his two young U.S. citizen daughters, he and his family must also live in fear of the reentry charge he is facing from your office and the trial that begins April 19th. We request again that in light of the death of Moises, you exercise your prosecutorial discretion to drop the charge and let Mr. Aguirre and his family grieve in peace. We also request more generally that in light of the widespread violence in the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), your office refrain from prosecuting for entry and reentry those fleeing violence and death in those countries. Moises is a tragic example of the real consequences of deterrence of refugees through prosecution.
Mr. Aguirre is an influential leader of the immigrant rights and labor movements, and he is a pillar within the community. He was the worker center coordinator for the VOZ Workers’ Rights Education Project in Portland, which is a worker-led organization that empowers immigrants and day laborers to gain control over their working conditions through leadership development, organizing, and community education. Through his work as an organizer, he has helped workers collect $500,000 in stolen wages, has helped improve health and safety labor standards, and organized neighborhood clean-ups. He is a passionate advocate for people’s rights and is a musician who sings for social justice causes. Francisco is also a trailblazer of the national movement advocating for the rights of day laborers and has worked closely with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON).
The prosecution of Mr. Aguirre would constitute a grave injustice for him, his family, and the community. We request that you dismiss the charges immediately.
Organization NameAF3IRMAmerican Friends Service Committee-Miami American Friends Service Committee, Massachusetts Arkansas Restorative Justice CoalitionArkansas Voices for ChildrenAuburn SeminaryAugustana Lutheran ChurchAustin Jewish Voice for PeaceBeacon Presbyterian Fellowship, OaklandCalifornia Immigrant Policy CenterCapital Area Immigrants' Rights CoalitionCASACasa EsperanzaCascadia Chapter of the Pacific Green Party of OregonCausa OregonCentro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos "Segundo Montes Mozo S.J." (CSMM)Centro Legal de la RazaChurch Council of Greater SeattleChurch World ServiceCoalicion de Derechos HumanosColectivo Son Jarocho PortlandComité Fuerza y Unidad MORENA Los Ángeles Comite VIDACommittee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)Communidades Construyendo Esperanza of Cherokee Park United ChurchCommunity Action Board of Santa Cruz County - Centro JornaleroCommunity Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)Congress of Day Laborers-New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial JusticeConversations With Friends (MN)Dallas AFL-CIO Central Labor CouncilDare to Dream: Get Educated! Latina ConferenceDay Worker Center of Mountain ViewDetention Watch NetworkDisciples of Christ Refugee and Immigration MinistriesDolores Street Community ServicesDominican Sisters of HoustonDon Bosco Workers Inc.El Centro del Inmigrante El/La Para TransLatinasFirst Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Tucson, ArizonaFirst Unitarian ChurchFriends of Broward DetaineesGeorgia Latino Alliance for Human RightsGreater Birmingham MinistriesICE out of Austin Immigrant Youth Coalition Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalitio Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA)Interfaith Coalition on Immigration, MN Interfaith Movement for Human IntegrityInterfaith Movement for Immigrant JusticeJesuit Social Research InsituteJewish Voice for Peace / Pax ChristiJewish Voice for Peace-Portland, ORJobs With JusticeJourney Koinania Catholic CommunityJuan sopJunta for Progressive ActionJustice For Immigrants - San Jose DioceseKairos-Milwaukie UCCKitsap Immigrant Assistance CenterKIWA (Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance)LAOCLATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN ACTION NETWORKLatin America & Caribbean Action Network (LACAN)Latino Faith Initiative - H.S. Power & Light MinistriesLatino Union of ChicagoLawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay AreaLiving Hope Wheelchair AssociationMadre Tierra Collective Malibu Community Labor ExchangeMetro Denver Sanctuary CoalitionMigrant Rights CollectiveMijente | Not1More CampaignNational Center for Lesbian RightsNational Day Laborer Organizing NetworkNational Lawyer's Guild, UC DavisNational Queer Asian Pacific Islander AllianceNew Sanctuary Movement of PhiladelphiaNorth County Immigration Task Forceopportunity enterprisesORGANIZACIÓN DE MIGRANTES ORGANIZADOS, AC Organized Communities Against DeportationsOrgullo P'urhépecha Pangea Legal ServicesPCUNPeace Over ViolencePeople Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER)Pilgrim United Church of ChristPitzer in OntarioPlataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD Regional)Pomona Economic Opportunity CenterAFL-CIOPortland Fellowship of ReconciliationPortland Jobs with JusticePresbyterian Peace FellowshipProgressive Leadership Alliance of NevadaPueblo Sin FronterasRacial Justice Action CenterRadical WomenRADIO ALUMBRARAIZRed Nacional Salvadorena en el Exterior RENASE- WDCReformed Church of Highland ParkRENASE WDCSEIU-USWWSisters of Mercy South Central CommunitySOA WatchSoutheast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)Southeast Immigrant Rights NetworkSouthside Presbyterian Church Tucson, Arizonasouthside worker's centerSouthwest Conference United Church of ChristSt. Andrew's Presbyterian ChurchStaten Island Community Job CenterThe Episcopal Network for Economic Justice The Food Security and Social Justice Network (Tucson)Together ColoradoUnidad Latina en Accion New HavenUnidad Latina en Accion NJUnimundal CollectiveUniversity Lutheran Chapel of BerkeleyUURISE - Unitarian Universalist Refugee & Immigrant Services & EducationVoces de la FronteraVOZ Workers Rights Education ProjectWe Are One, Inc.We Belong TogetherWeCount! Wilco Justice Alliance (Williamson County, TX)