Thursday, April 10, 2008

ICE Intimidates Student Activist: Donate Here

I have faith…

I have faith that God will help us through this test…

I have faith in people.

This is my story…

On July 26, 2006, Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) came to my home and detained my parents and sisters. My family came to the United States 15 years ago. Over the course of those 15 years we have become integrated in this community, we have paid our taxes, and have tried several times to legalize our status.

When I graduated from high school, one of my goals was to go to college. I knew that an education would give me the freedom I so long for. I knew that an education was a human right. However, because I was an undocumented student this meant I was not eligible for this right. Did this mean that because I was undocumented I was not worthy enough to be considered a human being?

I fought for my right to a college education and successfully was admitted to Miami Dade College in the fall of 2003. But that was not the outcome for many others, and I knew that I had to fight for this injustice. I knew that MLK was right when he said "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

I began to fight for educational rights. I fought for immigrant students rights. I stood up and spoke out. I marched along thousands of people. I humbly testified and shared my story with many people in hopes that I would be able to kindle their hearts and change their minds. I prayed to the Almighty God on my knees, and I asked for a change.

I have endured the burden of this responsibility for almost two years. ICE officers told my family to thank me for what was happening to them. ICE officers told my parents to reprimand me for what I was doing. ICE officers threatened me and asked me to stay quiet. And yesterday the herald wrote U.S. Immigration Judge Carey Holliday had refused to hear their arguments.

Pacheco "freely chose to draw unwanted attention to herself and her family," he wrote in a March 18 response. "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones."That runs through my head every single day, and like a dagger those words cut through my chest and stab my heart.

My family has been extremely supportive of my cause. My father has told me several times he is proud of me. He brings me up when I am down. He has been the wind beneath my wings. My mom says that I inherited from her the fighter in me. I love my family, and I also love this country! I know that justice and love will prevail in the end. I know this because one of the ICE officers said to my mom, “Why are you crying? Don’t you believe in God?” He comforted her, he was humane, and he showed her love.

I believe in the power of change. I believe in the power we have to make a difference and do good. One day I had to give a speech around September 11. I remember hearing someone talk about the tragedy that took place that day. And I remember thinking if 16 people were able to cause such a horrific thing, imagine what 16 people can do for something good. It really takes one person to make a difference.

Time for a change is of essence in this case. My family will appear in front of an immigration court judge this Monday, April 14, 2008. I don’t know what the outcome of this appearance will be. We’ve been put in a very uncomfortable situation because we are uncertain of the future. My family has to be ready to ask for voluntary departure in order to avoid being detained in a detention center. We need to present passports, airline tickets, bonds, and other fees, and we are reaching out to our friends and family for help. Unfortunately, we are really short on the money, and today I ask for your help. I have set aside my pride and feelings of shame because I really need your help.

I am dying inside because I feel my family is being snatched away from me. Even though I am 23 years old, I still need my mom. I have been terribly sick these past few weeks, and she has been the one that has spoon-fed me the medicine, has made special food to make me feel better, and has sat down by my side to caress me and soothe my pain away. I cannot begin to imagine what it feels like losing a parent forever. My peace rests in that, even though they are deporting my family, I am still going to be able to hear my mom’s voice and my dad’s encouragements through a telephone.

Thank you for reading this letter, and thank you for your support! If you feel it in your heart that you are able to help my family, please let me know. We need to have everything turned in to the lawyers by this Friday, April 11th.

Thank you once again, and God bless you,
Gaby Pacheco
Please feel free to pass along!


Maria Pacheco
13380 SW 2nd Terrace
Miami, FL 33184

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