For over a year, Guatemalan asylum-seeker Kenneth Azurdia Hernandez has been detained in multiple immigrant detention centers and separated from his mother, partner, and two preschool sons who now reside in Washington, DC.
Kenneth is currently being held at Stewart Detention Center in rural Lumpkin, Georgia. National City Christian Church, and many others, have been assisting Yeslin and their sons constantly, while she seeks asylum in D.C.
(See Kenneth above in happier times, in photo at right, and see his young sons Alessandro and Dylan--who was born since arrival in the U.S.--in photo at left.)
We’ve just received word that Kenneth has been told he will be deported on tomorrow, Tuesday, May 21.
He needs our voices NOW to offer protection to delay his deportation while he awaits an appeal ruling by the 11th Circuit Court in Georgia.
As a pastor, I had the chance to visit Kenneth last week in detention - and I never imagined it could possibly be the last visit he would receive in this country!! As we prayed together, I saw and felt the power of his faith and his great love for his family. He deserves to be together with them, has NEVER yet been able to see them outside of detention here in the U.S., and is deeply frightened of violence against him and possible death if he is returned to Guatemala!
I ask you urgently to do three things NOW:
PLEASE CALL the ICE office in Stewart (229-838-1105) immediatel
“We urge you to reinstate/issue an ICE Stay of Deportation for Kenneth Azurdia Hernandez IMMEDIATELY, to halt his deportation that he is being told may happen as early as Tuesday, May 21st! Kenneth’s A# is: 216-274-390. His infant and three-year-old son, their mother, and his own mother (with a serious heart condition) need him. A stay should be granted him because he continues to await a decision his appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of jurisdiction for his asylum. He’s also been seeking permission to marry the mother of his sons, whose asylum case is still pending.
Just last week, ICE had told Kenneth’s lawyer they agreed to stay his deportation. Please don’t turn back on this agreement - but instead mercifully reinstate/issue an ICE Stay of Removal for Kenneth Azurdia Hernandez NOW!!
(Note that you will need to call between 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You will need to press “0” for assistance to try to leave a message. You may need to call multiple times, as our experience is that they will not answer each call.)
PLEASE CALL AND EMAIL immediately
to the ICE Regional Field Office in Atlanta.
Use the same script as for the call above, but ask to speak with the Atlanta Field Office Director: (404) 893-1210. Further, use the sample script to also email to the Atlanta field office at: Atlanta.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov.
Thank you so much for sharing in love for Kenneth’s family, and for joining him in demonstrating the power of faith and community values of love which confirm that, indeed, “the word of God is living and active”! (Hebrews 4:12)
Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director,
Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries
LETTER OF SUPPORT TO ICE FOR KENNETH AZURDIA HERNANDEZ:
Stewart Detention Center
Atlanta Field Office
146 CCA Road
Lumpkin, GA, 31815
Dear ICE Officers, May 17, 2019
We write as faith and community partners in support of Kenneth Azurdia Hernandez, A#216-274-390, currently in detention there in Stewart, and strongly request that you immediately reinstate an ICE Stay of Deportation.
Kenneth is a young Guatemalan father who came to the United States to protect his family from violence and extortion.
Four separate times, Kenneth moved with his family to new locations; each time to seek escape from gangs that continued to extort and threaten his family with violence and death. The gangs threatened them in hopes for money from Kenneth’s mother, Orquidia, who held a position at a bank. Despite their threats, Orquidia’s faith values kept her from stealing from her employer to give money to the gangs. As the family repeatedly refused to cooperate with the gang’s threats, they eventually were forced to leave Guatemala, and have been seeking asylum in the U.S. since their arrival in December 2017.
In no way is Kenneth a threat to our country. Rather, he was only seeking to protect his family by escaping from threats against them all in Guatemala.
Kenneth escaped with his then two-year-old son, Alessandro, with his mom, and with Alessandro’s Mom, Yeslin - then pregnant with their now infant son, Dylan. The first time Kenneth saw his son Dylan was via video at an immigration court in Atlanta. The only time he met him in person was when Yeslin visited while Kenneth was in detention in Folkston, GA.
Kenneth’s sons, their mother, and Kenneth’s mom, Orquidia (who has a serious heart condition), desperately desire to reunite with Kenneth soon.
Their asylum cases are still pending. Kenneth, likewise, has an appeal of his asylum case pending currently in the 11th Circuit Court, with jurisdiction in Georgia.
In this time, we urge you to demonstrate compassion for their family by doing the following:
Reinstate/issue an ICE Stay of Deportation for Kenneth
, A#216-274-390, so he might remain in the U.S. as the 11th Circuit considers the appeal of Kenneth’s case before them. Just last week, an ICE officer at Stewart told Kenneth’s lawyer that he granted a Stay of Deportation for Kenneth - yet it seems now to have been removed. Please reissue it. Kenneth’s life is at risk if he is returned to Guatemala.
Please grant Kenneth’s ongoing request to marry Yeslin, his long-term partner and mother of his two sons, Alessandro and Dylan.
Kenneth requested this permission upon arrival at Stewart, and is currently awaiting approval. This would allow Kenneth to be added as a derivative onto his wife’s pending asylum case.
We continue to pray ardently for Kenneth and his family, and have been deeply impressed by the power of their faith demonstrated again and again throughout this past year and a half.
May God bless you in your work that impacts so many,