Quinceañeras are just as special to 15-year-old girls as it is to their parents. While it’s mostly a day about transitioning from childhood to adulthood, it’s also about the relationship they have with their moms and/or dads. For an unidentified teen – whose father was detained in March 2017 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – she knew her dad wouldn’t be able to attend the important ceremony. So the Richmond, California quinceañera took the party outside of the facility where dad Raúl López has been held for far too long.
While Raúl couldn’t participate in the event, the young woman arrived in a poufy pink gown. She and a chambelán danced outside of the facility as a crowd – holding signs denouncing our harsh immigration system and calling for Raúl’s release – surrounded them.
López has lived in the United States for nearly three decades. He was caught driving under the influence and was placed under house arrest. He served two months in jail as well. In previous years, under different administrations, he would have been able to check in with ICE and be allowed to return home. But when he checked in last year, officials at the San Francisco ICE office detained him.
Because the Trump Administration has made a larger number of undocumented immigrants targets for deportation, López missed this milestone in his daughter’s life.
“We want to be able to be there for people during these check-ins, which are becoming increasingly more and more dangerous,” said Rev. Deborah Lee, executive director for Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity. “We really want to help this man who has been here for 29 years, who has no family in Guatemala to return to. He has… to be allowed to stay right here with his family where he belongs.”