My name is Vanessa Taylor. I am a co-founder of the Black Liberation Project, a grassroots collective of Black youth. On March 7th, 2017, a high school student I know received a phone call saying her undocumented mother, Alejandra Valdepena Hilguera, had been detained by ICE. They are trying to deport her on Tuesday and we need to raise court funds immediately!
The student’s partner was driving with the mother and her 10 year old son in the back seat on the way to the hospital when two unmarked vehicles pulled them over. The two officers presented no warrant and requested the ID of the mother, despite the fact that she was not driving, and detained her. This is an illegal stop.
Alejandra Valdepena Hilguera is the mother of 4 children (all of whom are citizens); two are underage at 14 and 10 years old. Her 18 year old daughter is still only a senior in highschool. The family turned to a lawyer who said she would be able to handle the case. However, she said that she needed $2,000 from the family before she began. Out of desperation, the family emptied their bank accounts, including the student. Unfortunately, we have found out that this woman is not a lawyer, and has not progressed on Valdepena Hilguera’s case at all. She is still trying to claim the family owes her $500. We need to fundraise to not only cover the cost of a lawyer and court fees moving forward, but to make up what the family has lost.
Our primary concern is that if Valdepena Hilguera, as the mother of two underage children, is deported, these children will be placed into the child protection system. Under state law, they will be placed in a 72 hour hold at a shelter care facility. The two youngest children will be split up and unable to see each other, their parents, or their siblings. The courts will likely recommend that they be put on medication and we are concerned for the safety of the youngest daughter, who has PTSD. The 10 year old son has undiagnosed medical problems and his mother is the only one who can care for him and take him to his appointments. Valdepena Hilguera is the primary caregiver for these children and heavily involved in raising and caring for her 3 year old granddaughter. She is the one who provides emotional support for her children, who handles their medical concerns, and is an exceptional mother. She is the only support system that her children have. My friend’s student is also concerned that, despite being on the honor roll at her school, she will be unable to complete high school and graduate this summer if her mother is deported.
Additionally, Valdepena Hilguera is diabetic and the family is not sure how the center is handling her diabetes. The facility has given her medication, but she is unfamiliar with it and the family cannot reach her to confirm how she is doing. They are not allowed to call or visit her without a lawyer present.
As I said, we are fundraising to not only cover the upcoming court expenses, but to replace the money that this family has already lost. We are also fundraising to make up for lost wages, while the family struggles to support each other with their mother currently detained. Please donate and share throughout your networks immediately!
Thank you all!