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Months-Long Campaign by NYIC Ends in Victory
  for Sara Martinez
On New Year’s Day 2011, Sara Martinez, traveling with her five-year-old daughter, was taken off a bus in Rochester by Border Patrol agents and put into deportation proceedings when she could not produce the requested ID. It looked like she would become one more statistic among the 400,000 individuals deported each year. But in summer 2011, the Obama Administration promised to use prosecutorial discretion to focus enforcement against public safety threats and to spare law-abiding family members the trauma of deportation.
On Friday, May 4, 2012, Sara received word that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency would drop deportation proceedings against her. 
She fit the criteria for prosecutorial discretion perfectly, but this victory did not come easily. 

This victory would not have happened without:
Whose love for her daughter, commitment to her community, and whose courage and integrity were an inspiration to all of us who embarked on this campaign in her defense.
Sara’s Sunset Park community—
The numerous church and non-profit groups that knew Sara, benefited from her volunteerism, and came out to defend her, sending affidavits of support to ICE.
Who signed hundreds of petitions to ICE urging them not to deport Sara Martinez.
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez—
Sara’s representative in Congress, whose letter to and direct advocacy with ICE Director John Morton triggered ICE’s decision to reconsider earlier denials and stop the deportation proceedings against Sara.
Photo Above (left to right): Linda Sarsour, friend of Sara; Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez; Chung-Wha Hong, NYIC executive director; Sara Martinez; and Samson Koyonda, her pro bono attorney
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand—
and her intervention on Sara’s behalf.
The Media—
The New York Times (op-ed and letter to the editor), Daily News, El Diario, and Univision—which saw injustice and shone a light on it.
Read more about Sara’s story and this hard-fought-for victory:
New York Daily News here and here
How did this happen?
Last summer, when the prosecutorial discretion policy was announced, it was a first step by the administration to reverse course on its enforcement-only approach to immigration. Under this policy, certain individuals who pose no threat to public safety, have strong community and family ties, and meet other criteria would have their deportation cases closed.
This policy is the result of the pressure exerted on the White House to undo some of the damage of our broken immigration system—pressure exerted by groups nationwide, including by the NYIC’s 10,000 letters generated through our “Stroke of a Pen” campaign.
Just some of the 10,000 letters the NYIC sent to the White House through our Stroke of a Pen campaign
But there’s a difference between policy and practice, and unfortunately it has taken enormous pressure to get ICE to use the policy in good faith. To date, only 1% of cases in New York have been closed under prosecutorial discretion, and only 7.5% nationwide.
Getting ICE to spare hardworking, law-abiding family members from deportation has required mobilizing every possible resource at hand. 
And that’s what we did for Sara—and we won!
While we are relieved that justice prevailed and ICE finally recognized that deporting Sara would not serve the public interest, we know there are countless more families living under the fear of being torn apart by our broken immigration system.That is why we will continue to work to ensure that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano implements the new deportation guidelines consistently and fairly and stops the senseless deportation of thousands of others just like Sara.
Thank you to all those who supported this effort!







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