News and Announcements

On December 13, 2012 Families for Freedom, immigrant rights advocates, local prison abolitionists, and Enlace, the national coordinator of the Private Prison Divestment Campaign, protested outside Scopia Fund Management to demand the company stop investing in private prisons. The demonstration was part of a national Day of Action of the Private Prison Divestment Campaign.

Esther Portillo-Gonzales is the daughter of migrants from El Salvador and was raised in the Pico-Union area in Los Angeles, the gateway for many migrants from Central America and Mexico. Esther comes to Families for Freedom with 11 years of community organizing experience that has enabled her to work on immigrant and worker rights issues and environmental justice with diverse communities in California and New York. In 2011, she was the Research Fellow at the Applied Research Center (ARC) and worked on the groundbreaking report, “Shattered Families: The Perilous Intersection of the Immigration Enforcement and Child Welfare System”. Earlier this year, she led organizing efforts to secure humanitarian parole for a deported father from Mexico who returned to the U.S. to fight for his parental rights, which were threatened as a result of his deportation.

For more than ten years Families for Freedom has been on the frontline of fighting for human rights. We are current and former detainees, deportees and their loved ones. We address the unjust systems that criminalizes us because we are poor, that incarcerates us because we are people of color and forces us to migrate back to plundered lands. As federal deportation programs continue to proliferate in every jurisdiction in the country, our fight has become increasingly critical and relevant to our lives, our families and our communities.
Under the current administration we endure record breaking deportations. In the last four years the U.S. has forced close to two million people out of the country. President Obama’s iron fist approach to aggressive policing targets poor communities of color through programs such as “Secure Communities”, 287g, and local NYC enforcement programs like Stop and Frisk. In the wake of reignited talks around Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), a proposal spearheaded by our New York Senator Schumer that aims to increase the unprecedented levels of deportations. The proposal tenets also include but are not limited to: increase border and interior enforcement, an expanded skilled guest worker program, an English proficiency requirement and a national ID card that threatens civil liberties and human rights.

A decade ago, three families came together to confront the largely invisible crisis of deportation. Together they broke the silence and overcame the isolation that many families face when one of their members is facing deportation. Creating an informal network focused on providing mutual support and education, the Shahani Family, Subhash Kateel, and Maria Muentes formed Families for Freedom (FFF). From these three founding families' vision grew the powerful organization we know today fighting on the frontlines of this nation's immigration debate. This is a slideshow of all the people involved over the past decade with Families for Freedom's work.
On November 9th hundreds of Families for Freedom members, allies and volunteers came together to celebrate over ten years of organizing to keep our families together. Together we dined, danced and honored the powerful work of visionaries Shahani family, Subhash Kateel, and Maria Muentes who founded Families for Freedom. You can view a photo slideshow of the party below. Thanks to all who attended and special thanks to all who volunteered and cooked food. For those of you who were unable to attend but want to support Families for Freedom you can still donate here.
Everyday we talk to people who are being held in deplorable conditions in our nation's immigrant detention centers. We helped compile many of these testimonies for the Explose and Close reports. Detention Watch Network has coordinated the release of ten "Expose and Close" reports which detail the acute and chronic human right violations occurring in immigration detention in the United States today.
Families for Freedom is proud to be part of the national Prison Divestment Campaign that organized for Wells Fargo to dump their prison stock. Today it was announce that Wells Fargo just divested from GEO group, the nations largest private prison company, that profits off of the misery of immigrants and their families. Hasta la Victoria!!!!