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Immigrant Rosenda Duarte Released by Border Patrol

June 20, 2017

By Alexandra Mendoza

After nearly a month under immigration detention, Rosenda Duarte was able to hold her four children once again.

This past Monday, Mrs. Duarte was released from the Otay Mesa Detention Center, and is now advocating for her husband to win his appeal and also be granted a release on bond so he can be with his family while he continues to fight his case.

“[I feel] grateful and thankful to God more than anything,” said the mother after being released just steps away from the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Francisco and Rosenda Duarte came to the United States more than twenty years ago, and have supported their family by selling popsicles out of pushcarts in National City.

Their children Francisco, 19; Luis, 17; and twins Araceli and Yarely, 12; have been in the front lines of the fight to get their parents back after they were arrested in front of their home by Border Patrol. All four children are American citizens and have received numerous awards for their academic performance.

U.S. Border Patrol has argued that the couple was arrested on suspicion of sheltering undocumented immigrants in their home, though no charges have been filed against the parents for this purported crime.

During the bond hearing last Friday, Ruben Salazar, the family’s attorney, denied the accusations and reiterated that the Duartes are a hard-working family with no prior criminal history. After the judge denied Francisco Duarte’s request to be released on bond, the defense filed an appeal, and are expecting a decision by mid-July.

“We are going to continue to fight [for] the father. It is very ugly, very sad, to see such a close family missing their dad,” stated Mark Lane, the Duarte’s assistant attorney.

Immigrant rights advocate Benjamin Prado of the American Friends Service Committee lamented that the lives of two immigrants – who he believes should never have been arrested – have been turned upside down. “We have nothing to indicate that a crime was committed; what we do have is a hard-working family being criminalized,” he said.

Francisco Jr., the eldest son who was left as caretaker for his younger siblings after his parents’ arrest, said he was confident that the six of them would be together again soon. “You never lose hope. We are going to get through this, and everything will be ok,” shared the young man.

Less than an hour before Rosenda’s release, the City Council in National City unanimously voted to symbolically declare itself a “Compassionate Community.” The decision was fueled in no small part by the news of what happened to the Duarte family.

National City Councilwoman Mona Rios was glad Rosenda Perez could return to her home. “I know her family has waited anxiously to be able to hug her again,” Rios said, “and I hope that by the next time we speak the father will have also been released.”

National City Mayor Ron Morrison was also pleased to know that the Duarte children were reunited with their mother, adding that it concerns him that federal agents are going around arresting undocumented persons without a court order.

“You cannot put people in jail without any charges,” said Morrison. “To get an order, you must show the court that you have probable cause and, as far as I know, that did not happen in this case, and that needs to be addressed.”

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