Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal
Venezuelan DREAMer and sex trafficking victim held by Obama Administration for 2 YEARS in Deportation Detention
DREAMActivist.org has created a petition to free Andrea Herrera "Kat Stacks," a Venzuelan DREAMer who came to the United States at the age of 8. When she was 14 she was kidnapped by sex traffickers who forced her into prostitution.
She ultimately was arrested by police for attempted prostitution and has been held by ICE in an immigration detention center in Louisiana for over 22 months, away from her 3-year old son. The Obama administration refuses to release her, because apparently victims of sex-trafficking are now deportation priorities.
Please take action and sign the following petition on the DREAMActivist.org website. I have included it below for your review.
You can also bring attention to the case by Tweeting the following: .@wwwicegov @BarackObama Let @DreamAct & #SexTrafficking victim @AdmireAndrea go! #FreeKatStacks bit.ly/freekat @TheNiya
...And, please, share the link (bit.ly/freekat) on your Facebook page to help spread the word.
To Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, John Morton, and Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano:
I am writing to ask for the immediate release of Andrea Herrera, AKA "Kat Stacks" (A#077-012-275). Andrea has been detained at the Lasalle Detention Center in Louisiana for 22 months. Andrea is not only DREAM Act eligible but she is also a victim of sex trafficking.
Andrea migrated to the United States from Venezuela at >the age of 8. On April 24, 2006, Andrea's mother came home to find out that her 15-year old daughter had been taken by a man named "Prince." Andrea's mom would later find out that Prince was in fact a pimp who had kidnapped Andrea and was forcing her into prostitution.
The day Andrea went missing her mother filed a report with the Aventura Police Department; Case #01-06-001961. After more than a month without news from the police department, Andrea's mom contacted the FBI (Case# 280150AC1). On June 26, with the help of the FBI, Andrea's mom filed a report with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Unbeknownst to Andrea's family, by this time, Andrea had already been moved to New York where she was being forced to prostitute herself. On July 1st Andrea was arrested by an undercover cop for attempting to prostitute herself. Unfortunately for Andrea's mom, police did not hold her and she was let go. In 2009 Andrea was brought back to Florida and she was finally reunited with her mother after she was once again arrested.
Andrea was put on supervision by ICE; essentially she was told she would not be able to leave the house while her case was pending. Still recovering from her trauma, Andrea created an online persona under the name she was given by her pimp: Kat Stacks. Andrea would then spend her days online connecting with local artists and big names that were going to be in town. She eventually began to work as a promoter for several artists and would use it as an opportunity to connect with other young girls who were also sex trafficking victims.
On June 29, 2012 an immigration judge rejected Andrea's request for change of status citing her online persona, Kat Stacks, as the major negative equity despite testimony from an expert witness defending her online personality:
"...the persona, Kat Stacks, was a way for the Respondent to claim a little bit of the power that had been repeatedly taken away from her. It gave her a sense of empowerment and a sense of being able to control her own destiny."
The judge concluded:
In sum, the Court finds that the Respondent's behavior as an online persona is a significant negative equity. . To conclude, the Court finds that it is not in the best interests of the United States to grant adjustment of status to the Respondent and it will be denied as a matter of administrative discretion.
Andrea is a victim and yet she has spent over 22 months detained inside an immigration detention center. Andrea has a 3-year old son she misses dearly.Now ICE is refusing to release Andrea as a result of how she decided to cope with her trauma. Instead of keeping the pain locked up Andrea chose to speak about it in the hopes of empowering other young women to change.
I ask that you immediately release Andrea Herrera from immigration detention. I ask that you grant discretion in her case and allow for her and her family to heal.