Faith Communities pray for mercy for the Bartolon family Community will gather to pray in support of family facing deportation
Members of a network of Catholic parish circles of support called Strangers No Longer offered their prayers to a Guatemalan Family of 3 seeking asylum as they appeared at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in Detroit Wednesday morning. ICE had directed Daris Bartolon and her two young children to bring 3 plane tickets to the appointment with ICE that they were to use for their own deportation by the end of the year. Their Immigration lawyer, Kevin Piecuch, accompanied the family and presented applications for a "stay of removal". Sr. Martha de la Torre, a Sister of Mary Reparatrix, led a prayer and blessing for the family outside the ICE offices.
At stake is the health of 15-year old daughter Maddeline who has been undergoing surgery and treatment for a severely misshapen right leg, due to a vitamin deficiency called Ricketts. The surgeries and treatment have been provided pro-bono by Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago. Doctors have testified to the need for another year of treatment unavailable in Guatemala.
“This is exactly why ICE has discretion in situations like this,” said Piecuch who is also Director of the Southwest Detroit Immigration and Refugee Center. “When they read our application, I’m sure they’ll do the right thing.” Piecuch felt their meeting with immigration officials went well and expects a response to his request Friday.
Strangers No Longer also delivered to ICE Regional Field Director, Rebecca Adducci 50 letters of support for the family signed by Catholic Pastors, a High School Principal, a radio station General Manager, teachers, organization leaders, and individuals throughout Southeast Michigan. Parishioners at the Basilica of St. Anne organized this campaign of mercy. Those same faith leaders, with their partners in Strangers No Longer parishes, reached out to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, in whose district the family lives; Sen. Gary Peters, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security; and to their own Congressional representatives, Brenda Lawrence and Debby Dingell.
Rep. Lawrence called Adducci Tuesday to personally ask for the Stay of Removal. “There is no question that this family has been through so much already and yet they are here pleading to the U.S. government for compassion,” Rep. Lawrence said in a statement. “This family deserves to be here to continue the medical treatment they are receiving at Shriners Hospital. I support a stay of removal and a compassionate outcome for Daris and her family.“