A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about a woman going under the pseudonym “Alexa” (who has since given permission to use her real name, Maria). I now have a brief update on her situation.
To recap: Maria is a Guatemalan asylum seeker who has been separated from her six-year-old niece—now referred to by the pseudonym “Flor”—whom she has been raising as a de facto daughter ever since the murder of the girl’s mother (which happened when Flor was an infant). Maria is currently in immigrant detention in Arizona, while Flor is in a foster shelter in New York. A coalition of over two hundred US faith leaders signed a letter petitioning for Maria’s release so that she and Flor can be reunited. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had the honor of translating their messages of love and hope into Spanish so Maria could read them.
The update: Unfortunately, Maria’s parole was once again denied, in spite of the faith leaders’ letter, another letter signed by about two dozen Arizona state representatives, and many other generous offers of help. Yesterday, Arizona Rep. Kelli Butler held a press conference at the Arizona state capitol building to bring more publicity to Maria’s case. (Here is an article about the press conference. Butler is the woman at the podium in the picture accompanying this post.) And a GoFundMe account has been set up to help to raise money for Maria and Flor. All of the money goes directly to them, to meet needs such as meals, transit, housing, and schooling as they continue a process that could take years.
I encourage you to contribute what you can to the GoFundMe account. In addition, here are some further action steps given to me by the person who has been passing on these updates:
If you do share online, you can use the hashtag #freemaria and say something along these lines: Please lend your support. Call the ICE Phoenix Field Office at 602-766-7030 and ask them to reunite Maria and Flor by granting her parole…. feel free to share details about the case and why it is important to you.
And of course, please continue to keep Maria and Flor and everyone involved in your prayers!