Text of the Sign On Letter to DOJ

Organizations can sign on to the letter at this link: http://goo.gl/forms/Nh7R9zVz8L

Download the letter as a PDF

March ___, 2016

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.

Thank you,

Augustana Lutheran Church

National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)

VOZ Workers’ Rights Education Project

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List of Organizations Who've Signed On:

Alerta Migratoria NC
American Friends Service Committee-Miami
American Friends Service Committee, Massachusetts
Arkansas Restorative Justice Coalition
Arkansas Voices for Children
Auburn Seminary
Augustana Lutheran Church
Austin Jewish Voice for Peace
Beacon Presbyterian Fellowship, Oakland
California Immigrant Policy Center
Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition
Casa Esperanza
Casa Latina
Cascadia Chapter of the Pacific Green Party of Oregon
Causa Oregon
Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos "Segundo Montes Mozo S.J." (CSMM)
Centro Legal de la Raza
Church Council of Greater Seattle
Church World Service
Coalicion de Derechos Humanos
Colectivo Son Jarocho Portland
Comité Fuerza y Unidad MORENA Los Ángeles
Comite VIDA
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
Communidades Construyendo Esperanza of Cherokee Park United Church
Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County - Centro Jornalero
Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)
Community United Against Violence (CUAV)
Congress of Day Laborers-New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice
Conversations With Friends (MN)
Dallas AFL-CIO Central Labor Council
Dare to Dream: Get Educated! Latina Conference
Day Worker Center of Mountain View
Detention Watch Network
Disciples of Christ Refugee and Immigration Ministries
Dolores Street Community Services
Dominican Sisters of Houston
Don Bosco Workers Inc.
El Centro del Inmigrante
El/La Para TransLatinas
The Episcopal Network for Economic Justice
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Tucson, Arizona
First Unitarian Church
The Food Security and Social Justice Network (Tucson)
Friends of Broward Detainees
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
Grassroots Leadership
Greater Birmingham Ministries
ICE out of Austin
Immigrant Youth Coalition
Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition
Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA)
Interfaith Coalition on Immigration, MN
Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice
Jesuit Social Research Insitute
Jewish Voice for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland, OR
Jobs With Justice