Valentine's Day rally to demand ICE release man from custody

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SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)-- Family and supporters on Wednesday will again call for the release of a San Jose man who's been in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for four months now, supporters said today.

Fernando Carrillo, 33, a Mexican national, has been in custody in a Contra Costa County jail in Richmond since Oct. 11, when immigration agents picked him up immediately after he dropped his daughter off at daycare.

Carrillo's wife and three daughters along with faith and community leaders will pray, sing and tie 100 paper hearts together at noon Wednesday outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office at 630 Sansome St. in San Francisco and call for his release.

Supporters will have the chance to write the names of fathers, mothers and other family members who will be in detention on Valentine's Day or who fear deportation, according to organizers.

"We want to use Valentine's Day to remind those who have been detained or deported are loved," Carrillo's daughter Isabella, 15, said in a statement.

Since his detainment, Carrillo's wife Lourdes Barraza has become the breadwinner for the family, a task that has been challenging. In January, Barraza said she had been paying rent with a credit card and the power had been turned off at their home until a nonprofit helped them out.

The separation has been hard on the couple's children too. Their oldest daughter has gone from being a high school student to being home-schooled because of anxiety and depression, supporters said.

Carrillo's detention officer and the officer's supervisor have recommended Carrillo be released but ICE Field Director David Jennings has denied the request, according to supporters.

Barraza sought to clarify some information published by other media outlets that said her husband has a felony conviction for providing false identification and for felony DUI.

She admitted her husband used a fake ID to unsuccessfully try to come into the country in 2004 but said he paid the penalty for that, which was 30 days in jail. He did not use the identity of a U.S. citizen.

She also said a conviction for a DUI in 2012 was a misdemeanor and not a felony and he paid the penalty for that too.

Since then he has not been in trouble with the law, but it seems like these mistakes will continue to haunt him, she said.

"He's a good man, a good husband," Barraza said.

Immigrations officials said they could not confirm or deny the statements or provide a comment before the story was published.

Federal legislators this week have begun debating immigration proposals such as whether to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. Some say legislators are using immigrants as tools to bargain with, which Carrillo's supporters said is unsavory.

"When the federal government continues to treat immigrants as bargaining chips, as disposable to detention and deportation, we as people of faith, family members and the larger community stand together to honor wholeness, dignity and resilience of immigrants," Rev. Deborah Lee, executive 
director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, said in a statement.