By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
A collective sigh of relief was heard earlier this week as Local 983’s Jose Molina won a reprieve from an immigration court judge.
After requesting attorneys to file new briefs, the judge set a hearing date for late May 2018.
“I am just so happy and relieved,” said Molina, who came to America as an infant and faces deportation to Panama for a crime he committed– and served time for– 20 years ago.
For now the Associate Parks Service Worker remains stateside with his family and continues repairing and maintaining ball fields for the city’s Parks and Recreation Dept.
Elected city leaders took a special interest in Molina’s case after reading about it in DC 37’s Public Employee Press.
After the hearing, Jose, Jennifer and their 15-year-old daughter thanked the many supporters who packed the lower Manhattan courtroom, among them: Local 983 President Joe Puleo and Vice President Marvin Robbins, Local 1508 Parks Supervisor Hugo Chance, Margot Perron, Van Cortlandt Park administrator, and City Council member Carlos Menchaca, chair of the Council’s Immigration Council.
“This is about America’s promise of due process under the law,” Menchaca said.
DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, Local 983 executive board members and other union members wrote letters of support. The union’s Political Action Dept. urged elected officials such as Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz and City Council member Fernando Cabrera to write letters of support as well.
“The amount of support Jose has received from his union is really remarkable,” said Lee Wang, one of Molina’s attorneys from the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project.
DC 37 Blog is an online publication of District Council 37, AFSCME, which represents 125,000 municipal employees in New York City.