ICE Transfers Detained Mother after Visit From Taylor City Council Member

November 16, 2018

For immediate release: November 16, 2018

Contact: Sofia Casini, scasini@grassrootsleadership.org, 512-499-8111

ICE Transfers Detained Mother after Visit From Taylor City Council Member

AUSTIN — Thursday evening, ICE officials threatened to transfer asylum seeking mother Melvin Griselda Cruz Lopez to Laredo, away from her legal and community support. ICE Officer Rodriguez told her to sign an unknown document that Griselda believes to be her voluntary deportation. When she refused, Officer Rodriguez signed the document and told her she would be moved to Laredo Thursday night. A Taylor community member visited the center Friday morning and confirmed she was no longer at the facility.

This threat comes just a week after ICE officials attempted to intimidate Griselda into signing her own deportation despite a pending appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Community members quickly called on their Taylor City Council members to help protect Griselda and to request that she be released and reunited with her daughter Samantha.

Wednesday morning, Taylor City Council Member Mitch Drummond visited with Griselda at the detention center after hearing from concerned constituents about her case.

“I fear my recent visit with Griselda led to her late night transfer to Laredo. Visiting with her I was reminded this could have been my daughter, separated from her 5 year old child, suffering from an untreated medical condition, and incarcerated in a hostile country. Her only crime was to request sanctuary; something any of us would to protect our children.” said Taylor City Council Member Mitchell Drummond. “She has a family here in the states waiting to take her in; why are we spending tax dollars to protect us from a young woman and her child? I feel this is immoral and am ashamed that we are allowing this to continue. As I left Griselda, I told her I would do whatever I could to get her released. My thoughts and prayers are with her.”

Concerned Taylor community members and immigration advocates had met with and encouraged multiple members of the Taylor City Council to visit T. Don Hutto and, specifically, Griselda. Thursday morning, Mayor Rydell inquired with the detention center about arranging a visit to the center, and was informed public officials would have to follow a prescribed process for stakeholders. Griselda faced ICE officials later that day and was transferred in the middle of the night.

“ICE’s tactics of lies and retaliation have been exposed. Instead of releasing this mother they transferred her away to silence her voice,” said Sofia Casini, immigration organizer at Grassroots Leadership. “But Griselda has a whole community behind her pushing for her release who are calling on their local elected leaders to do everything in their power to free her.”

Earlier this month, Griselda began speaking publicly about her case in the hope of winning her freedom so she can protect her 5-year-old U.S. Citizen daughter Samantha. Since Griselda’s detention over a year ago, Samantha has been living with an abusive father who has cut contact between mother and child over 2 months ago and refused to communicate news of Samantha to family.

# # #


Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works for a more just society where prison profiteering, mass incarceration, deportation, and criminalization are things of the past. Follow us @Grassroots_News.