Teamsters Rally Against Deportation
Teamsters and local elected officials rally at ICE HQ to demand release of one of their members
Unions, advocates for the immigrant community, and elected officials are demanding the release of Eber Garcia Vasquez, a private sanitation worker and a long-time member of the Teamsters union. Garcia Vasquez was detained on August 24th and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to deport him. His wife and three of his children are U.S. citizens and that gives Garcia Vasquez a path to a Green Card, but ICE is trying to deport him before he can complete that process.
Garcia Vasquez came to U.S. in the 1980s, fleeing violence in his homeland. Several of his family members in Guatemala, including his mother, have been killed. He fears for his life if he is forced to return. His family spoke at the press conference.
“He’s done nothing to deserve this,” said Maria Chavez, Eber’s Garcia Vasquez’s wife. “He is a wonderful father and husband. I was recently in a car crash and depend on Eber. We all do. We need ICE to release him while he goes through the process to get his Green Card.”
Garcia Vasquez’s wife and children depend on his union job, and their lives will be thrown into chaos if he is deported. His wife is now in a wheelchair.
He was detained during a routine appointment with ICE that he has made annually for four years, to submit paperwork to extend his stay of deportation. On Monday, his attorney filed a Stay of Removal to stop his imminent deportation.
“ICE should not be trying to deport someone who is eligible for a Green Card and is on his way to getting it,” said Zachary Sanders, Garcia Vasquez’s attorney. “He has a family to support and a community that values him. I am hearing from so many of his coworkers and neighbors that want him to stay. ICE has the discretion to release him as his case moves forward and they should do just that.”
Garcia Vasquez has been a member of Teamsters Local 813 for 26 years working in sanitation for the medical waste hauler Stericycle in New York.
“We are going to do everything in our power to support Eber and keep his family together,” said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, which represents 120,000 workers in downstate New York. “Our union stands with immigrant New Yorkers and against the hostile actions of the Trump administration. Eber is a valued and long-time Teamster. ICE should release him immediately.”
“This year, we have seen an increase of attacks on our immigrant brothers and sisters in the form of ICE detentions at homes, job-sites, and schools,” said Ron Herrera, Director of the Teamsters Waste Division. “Unfortunately last week, our brother Eber Garcia Vasquez from Local 813 fell victim to this type of action when he was detained after a routine check in with ICE. These actions harm our economy, destroy our communities, tear families apart, and do not embody the values that we hold as Teamsters. As Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters Local 396 and Director of the Teamsters National Solid Waste and Recycling Division, I encourage my Teamster brothers and sisters, regardless of your industry, status, or personal background, to stand with our sisters and brothers in the immigrant community, as they face an unprecedented attack on their basic rights and their ability to provide for themselves and their families.”
The Teamsters and allies are organizing supporters to call ICE and demand Garcia Vasquez’ release.
“Yet again, an immigrant with decades-long roots in this country and a viable path to legal permanent residency is detained by ICE in the most arbitrary manner. This level of inhumanity needs to stop. Eber Garcia Vasquez is a respected worker and deeply loved family man and his detention and deportation will serve no one,” said Angela Fernandez, Esq., Executive Director, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights joins his family and his union to stop this inhuman and immoral act by our government.”
“Our government refuses to do the hard work of fixing our broken immigration system, instead opting to scapegoat and criminalize working men and women, many of whom work hard and contribute to our communities. Families cannot be collateral damage,” said Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “New York City labor is standing with Brother Eber, and the Teamsters, to call for his immediate release, and for him to be reunited with his family now.”