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Family, activists demand immigration officials release husband, father of 3

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Fernando Carrillo’s wife, Lourdes Barraza, and their 4-year-old daughter speak with reporters outside of the San Francisco Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. (Courtesy Keith Burbank)

About 100 people rallied Friday afternoon outside a federal immigration office in San Francisco to gain the release of a husband and father of three detained despite a recommendation he be released.

The rally started at noon at the San Francisco Field Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at 630 Sansome St. in the city’s Financial District.

Fernando Carrillo, who lives in San Jose, has been held in the Contra Costa County jail in Richmond since Oct. 11 after immigration agents picked him up when he dropped off his 4-year-old daughter at daycare.

Meanwhile, Carrillo’s wife Lourdes Barraza said she has become the breadwinner and is serving as both mother and father, making life very challenging. “It’s been a nightmare,” Barraza, 37, said at Friday’s rally.

She’s been paying rent with a credit card, the San Jose resident said.

Furthermore, her power was turned off last week because she did not have enough money, but the power is back on with the help of a nonprofit group, Barraza said.

Additionally, Carrillo’s detainment has been hard on their children. Barraza said their oldest daughter has gone from being a regular high school student to being home-schooled because of anxiety and depression.

Carrillo is a Mexican national. Barraza and her children are citizens, however, she said there is no path to citizenship for her husband, even though he’s married to a citizen.

She said her husband has no criminal record but was detained on a previous deportation order.

San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell issued a statement this afternoon about the city’s stance on protecting immigrant communities.

“I will be a mayor who fights on behalf of our immigrant families,” he said. “We are and always will be a Sanctuary City.

“We have a President who repeatedly attacks and insults our families and consistently threatens those who do not align with his misguided policies and hateful beliefs. San Francisco is prepared and unified.

“We will not allow threats and accusations to undermine the values of our city,” Farrell said in the statement.

James Schwab, a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, could not immediately confirm or deny the reason for Carrillo’s detainment or comment on the case.

The rally was led by several Jewish organizations such as Bend the Arc Jewish Action and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and included other groups such as Catholic Charities.

“We read from Exodus this week,” Lee Winkelman, California organizing director for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said. “It says welcome the stranger because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Winkelman said what’s happening now is happening against Jewish and California values.

Barraza wants immigration officials to release her husband on bond so he can fight the potential deportation.

She said she feels blessed by the support she received at the rally and wants the public to know that her husband is not a criminal and doesn’t deserve to sit in a cell away from family.

Organizers said Carrillo’s detention officer and the officer’s supervisor have recommended that Carrillo be released based on references and supporting documentation. But David Jennings, the head of the enforcement removal operation in the immigration office in San Francisco, has refused to release him, according to organizers.

Barraza said, “If they want him to become a citizen they need to provide a pathway to do it,” such as releasing him on bond so that he can find resources to fight the case.

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