Protect Eva from deportation
Eva Chavez, longtime border community leader, immigrant rights and reproductive justice advocate, is at risk of deportation after being detained by ICE on February 14th. Eva was released from detention and is now facing an immigration check-in on Wednesday, March 14th, where, following a pattern of targeting community activists, she will likely be separated from her family and detained to wait out the legal course of her case and/or deported.
It is not only cruel and inhumane to separate Eva from her child, who has special needs and depends on her to be healthy and thrive, but it is an affront to her Rio Grande Valley neighborhood, who relies on Eva’s leadership for timely and accurate human rights and healthcare information that uplifts the entire community.
Eva Chavez was born in Mexico and has been living in the U.S. for over the last two decades, she has made South Texas’ border region, the Rio Grande Valley, her home where she serves her community as a leader and organizer.
On the morning of February 14th, ICE agents raided Eva’s home looking for her husband, an undocumented immigrant with a pending arrest warrant. At the time, Eva was in the midst of setting up her home for a community health fair she organized for her friends and neighbors. These health fairs are staple community gatherings where community members who otherwise lack access to healthcare, health education and reproductive healthcare information can come receive services, learn, ask questions, and advocate for themselves.
When ICE failed to find Eva’s husband, they proceeded to arrest her and five other undocumented immigrants who were carpooling on their way to work. Eva was later told by an ICE agent that she would be released if her husband turned himself in.
Eva is being targeted by a racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant administration that seeks to trample on the basic human rights of immigrant families. Eva’s detainment is also evidence of ICE’s pattern of singling out immigrant leaders for being outspoken and fearless community mobilizers. It has not been a week since fellow Poderosa, Alejandra Pablos was illegally detained at her check-in by ICE in Arizona. ICE detained leader Maru Mora-Villalpando for her “extensive involvement with anti-ICE protests and Latino advocacy programs.” ICE detained Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, and Eliseo Jurado, husband of a Peruvian woman taking sanctuary at a Colorado church.
Eva’s ability to live without fear of deportation is critical to the stability of her family and community. Now that her husband is detained by ICE, Eva is the backbone of her family, and sole-provider and caretaker of her 11-year-old son. Her child has special needs and depends on his mother to take him to a specialist 2 to 3 times per week.
A survivor of domestic violence and coercion, Eva has persisted and has chosen to organize for justice and dignity for all women. She’s been an active member of La Unión del Pueblo Entero for 15 years where she helps immigrant women like herself bring improvements to their neighborhoods and lives. Eva is also an active Poderosa with the Texas Latina Advocacy Network of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, where she has spent 10 years working to advance a vision of a society where all women—particularly immigrant women—have the economic means, social capital and political power to make and exercise decisions about our health, family and future with dignity and self-determination.
Eva is a loved member of the community and belongs in the Rio Grande Valley, with her child, family, and the community she has dedicated 15 years to as an organizer. She has been fighting for a better future for us – now we need to fight for her.
La Unión del Pueblo Entero and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health are circulating a petition to urge the ICE Field Office Director, Daniel Bible, to let Eva stay and grant her a Stay of Removal.