Ensuring Due Process: The National Immigrant Bond Fund
Today, in Silver Spring, the National Immigrant Bond Fund kicked off its fundraising campaign at CASA de Maryland. The fund, founded by Bob Hildreth, assists immigrants swept up in ICE raids to post bond quickly in order to secure a fair hearing in America's courts. Today, a few of the immigrants arrested during last month's raids in Annapolis, Maryland, spoke about the difference the fund has made in their own lives.
Luis Eduardo Delgado said that without the fund, his family would still be unsure of his whereabouts and he would not have the chance to a fair trial in immigration court, which could lead to a chance for him to stay and work here to support his wife and their two small children.
Delgado also described his harrowing experience during the raid, as ICE agents repeatedly yelled that he had no rights. He said that he showed agents a card, stating that he knew his right to remain silent until he spoke with an attorney. ICE agents told him that the raid was a Federal action and therefore he had no right to remain silent, no rights to a phone call and no right to an attorney. In fact, Delgado had a right to all three, and thanks to the National Immigrant Bond Fund, he is able to exercise his rights.
I'm including a video titled "Voices from a Raid" that documents what happened in Annapolis, to give you a bit of an idea what ICE put these people through.
[youtube = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbpbdkhGOaQ]
As Hildreth, the fund's founder, said today in Silver Spring,
"The fund takes laws very seriously. Not all immigrants swept up in ICE actions may qualify for relief under the law, but that does not mean they should be denied access to due process under our judicial system."
The fund, which works in a matching process will pay half of a detainee's bond, while the other half is paid through the detainee's own funds (or through friends, families or local help). Hildreth highlighted that this system ensures that detainees show up for their court dates, since it is their own money on the line.
Around 100 people have been helped through the fund so far - including 10 people in the Annapolis Raid.
If you believe in due process and the right to a fair trial, go to the fund's website and donate. Even if its only a dollar, you will be doing your part to ensure that the rights of working people are enforced.