Students at Yale University are outraged; after a long, multistate campaign, the father of a Yale student who wrote the viral New York Times op-ed “I Accidentally Turned My Dad Into Immigration Services” has been deported.
In February, Yale undergraduate Viviana Andazola Marquez turned 21 years old and petitioned the government to change the immigration status of her father, Melecio Andazola Morales. The family was under the impression that Andazola Morales was going to receive a green card, but was instead detained during what they thought would be a final interview meeting. The student campaign to keep Andazola Morales was widespread and even highlighted by Teen Vogue.
Marquez told the Yale Daily News that her father was removed from a detention facility on Friday morning, flown to Texas and then Arizona, and then deported to Mexico by bus. Andazola Morales is now prohibited from coming back to the United States for 20 years.
“My family will not be united for the holidays and will be facing economic hardship,” Marquez expressed. “We do not currently have the funds to help my dad secure a home and a vehicle, or to move my two younger sisters, who will be forced to leave the country in the wake of his removal.”
Fellow students have started various GoFundMe campaigns to support the family. One accumulated more than $78,000 during its run. Another, still currently active, has collected more than $20,000.
“It feels like a sick joke that at Yale University, where I’m a senior, I am majoring in ethnicity, race and migration,” Marquez wrote in the New York Times. “I have spent hours discussing, studying and reimagining fairer immigration policies. But none of that, none of my hard work, is good enough. It won’t release my dad.”
#FreeMelecio, #not1more, and #NI1MAS are trending on social media. The campaigns have even received support from Reps. Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, as well as Sen. Michael Bennet (all Democrats from Colorado).
Earlier this year, Yale students signed petitions supporting Andazola Morales and gathered in La Casa Cultural to make phone calls to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while students at other colleges — from Harvard to San Diego University — joined a photo campaign calling for his freedom.
Andazola Morales entered the United States 19 years ago and has been trying to modify his status since 2001, with the support of relatives. According to a Facebook post by Marquez, family members left in the United States are making plans to move to Mexico.
Isaiah Denby is a college freshman from Tampa Bay, Fla., studying economics and political science.