Parks Worker Facing Deportation Released from Detention

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Local 983 member Jose Molina with his family at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens before he was held almost a month in a federal detention center. Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS

Jose Molina is back on the job restoring Bronx ball fields for the New York City Parks and Recreation Dept. after the Local 983 member was detained almost a month after reporting to Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza.

Four years of liberty ended for no apparent reason, his lawyers said, after Molina dropped off his passport July 13 and told his deportation officer of his next court date in May 2018. He was moved to the Varick Street federal detention center for deportation.

DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido , Local 983 President Joe Puleo, City Council members Carlos Menchaca and Fernando Cabrera, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and other elected officials and immigration advocates called for Molina’s immediate release.

Molina was freed on Aug. 8.

Molina, a dedicated Associate Parks Service Worker, is glad to clear another legal hurdle in his fight to stay in the United States and not be deported to Panama for a crime he committed– and served time for–20 years ago.

Jose Molina came to the United States as a lawful permanent resident from Panama when he was an 18-month-old infant—38 years ago. His story first appeared in the Public Employee Press.

“We know this would not have been possible without help from Jose’s union and elected officials,” said wife Jennifer Molina. “We are very grateful and know we wouldn’t have this outcome if he worked for Rite Aid.”

“We met with Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver,” Puleo said. “The agency agreed not to penalize Molina for his absence.”

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