Local 983 Member Jose Molina Detained by Federal Immigration Authorities

Jose Molina with his wife Jennifer, the couple’s daughter, and Local 983 President Joe Puleo outside 26 Federal Plaza. Though Molina was granted a one-year reprieve by an immigration court judge ICE detained him on July 13. Photo by Clarence Elie-Rivera

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS

DC 37 Local 983 member Jose Molina was detained July 13 after going to 26 Federal Plaza to simply drop off his passport and tell his deportation officer of his next court date in May 2018.

Instead, after four years at liberty, and for no apparent reason, Molina was re-detained.

DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and Local 983 President Joe Puleo, City Council members Carlos Menchaca and Fernando Cabrera, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and other elected leaders and immigration advocates support Molina and are calling for his immediate release.

Mr. Molina came to the United States as a lawful permanent resident from Panama when he was an 18-month-old infant — 38 years ago. He grew up in Brooklyn and has a wife and two young children. His story first appeared in the Public Employee Press in May and July-August 2017.

A dedicated Associate Parks Service Worker, Jose Molina repairs and maintains ball fields and parks for the New York City Parks and Recreation Dept. In his 10 years on the job he has been an outstanding and exemplary employee, according to Parks management.

Mr. Molina now faces deportation to Panama for a crime he committed — and served time for — 20 years ago. Panama is completely foreign to him. His life, job, home and family are here in New York City.

“His detention is unjustified,” said his attorney Jessica Swensen. “ICE elected to release Jose on his own recognizance in 2013. Since that date he has complied with every check-in and has had no criminal interaction whatsoever. There is simply no reason to re-detain him at this point, while his removal proceedings remain pending before the immigration court.”

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