Long Beach immigrant rights activists launch donation fund to pay for bond releases of those facing deportation

Edgar, identified only by first name due to his immigration status, was recently able to pay for his $25,000 release bond through a new initiative the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition started this week to help undocumented people stay out of detention centers.

Edgar was released from the Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernardino County a couple of weeks ago, and though he is still going to court over his deportation charges, Edgar says he wants to help others avoid detention.

“My time there wasn’t easy, but I am very grateful to be out,” Edgar said in a testimonial video.

Gaby Hernandez, the coalition’s executive director, said the Liberation Fund is a new initiative that will collect donations to help pay for release bonds of people detained for deportation. It will work in conjunction with the Long Beach Justice Fund, which was a program the City Council approved in 2018 to help undocumented people receive legal representation as they face deportation charges.

Once a person is able to receive a lawyer’s services, they have a greater chance at requesting a release bond. The challenge, Hernandez said, was that these bonds often cost thousands of dollars that low-income families often cannot afford. Through the donations in the Liberation Fund, Hernandez believes they can help others like they helped Edgar.

So far, the coalition has been able to free three individuals, including Edgar, from immigration detention centers. They hope this donation fund will allow undocumented communities of color to level the field in the courtroom.

“This is to be able to reunite families,” Hernandez said. “This is one way to do that. People are detained for months—it destroys a family when someone gets detained.”

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