After being detained for more two years by ICE, Raul Reyes Lopez was finally reunited with his family on the night of Feb. 19. Originally from Guatemala, Reyes had been living in Richmond, CA with his family when he was detained.
“It feels good to be out and see the streets after two years of being locked into four walls,” said Lopez, who was greeted at Oakland International Airport by his wife and daughter, as well as supporters and his legal team.
“After intensive advocacy from our organizing partners and litigation in federal court and the immigration court Raul has finally be reunited with his family and community,” Daniel Werner, Lopez’ lawyer from Dolores Street Community Services in San Francisco, told El Tecolote.
Lopez was detained by ICE following his arrest for a DUI in 2016. Family and community partners, including the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, helped raise $25,000 to pay Lopez’s bond.
“In our view this bond was far in excess of the amount appropriate under Raul’s circumstances and he was detained for far too long,” Werner said. “But the decision to release Raul is still a vindication of Raul’s tireless efforts towards rehabilitation and the fundamental change he has undergone.”
Now free, Lopez has begun the process to remain sober, entering an inpatient alcohol treatment program and attending AA meetings.
“He finally has the opportunity to pursue effective programs to support his rehabilitation—an opportunity that he was denied previously due to the dearth of programs available for individuals subject to civil immigration detention,” Werner said. “We hope that Raul’s case will have a broader impact on individuals in similar situations, who are seeking to pursue rehabilitation, but are unjustly detained in violation of their constitutional rights. We also hope that the case will serve to educate the public about the injustices and inhumanity of the immigration detention system and the realities faced by those impacted by it.”
Lopez’s daughter Alexa, who held her quinceañera outside the West County Detention Center in Richmond in June 2018, was delighted to see her father.
“I’m so happy, like the happiest person in the world,” she said.
Alejandro Galicia Diaz contributed to this story.
Story by: Staff