I first met Ana Cobos Lugo at a Tucson City Council meeting
a few weeks ago. She was there, alongside close to 50 other community members, protesting the implementation of a security program between TUSD and the Tucson Police Department - because of SB 1070, officers at schools could have potentially been able to interrogate students about their immigration status if they ended up in police custody. Now we all know that isn't happening...
Anyway, I recently found out her father has been detained at the Eloy Detention Center for nearly four months and his hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.
Ana created an event page
on Facebook - right now more than 200 people have been invited but merely 24 have tentatively agreed to attend her dad's hearing in Eloy. She said she wants as many people as possible to come - advocates, media, etc. - so the judge will see her father, Felipe, has "connections in the community." Hopefully, that'd have some influence in the outcome.
The 17-year-old is the oldest of four, and she's stepped up to be a co-parent with her mom since her dad has been gone.
"My dad is such a hard-working man," she wrote on Facebook. "He has worked so hard to give (us) everything we need. He has a great heart, is very smart, responsible and respectful. He is our huge emotional and economic support."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, took custody of Felipe while he was trying to arrange paperwork that could eventually grant him legal status in the U.S. He was barely in the first step of that process, when he was apprehended.
He's been in the country for close to two decades. Felipe and his wife moved here with Ana when she was only a few months old.
His three other children are U.S. citizens - which is one of the requirements to qualify for Obama's deferred action for parents program. I asked Ana if his dad's attorney had looked into that, but she said his first lawyer pretty much gave up on the case because "there was nothing she could do," the second said the only solution is volunteered deportation...
As of today, her mom raised enough money to pay the third lawyer - whom the family hopes will help Felipe stay, leave detention - or do anything.
On top of it all, Felipe has a skin infection on his lower back, which is progressing and if he doesn't get surgery in the next few days, he could possibly be paralyzed. He has received some medical treatment but Ana said it's very sensitive, and the conditions in detention only make it worse.
When I spoke with Ana, she said they had just gotten off the phone with her dad and that he is not positive about the outcome of his case.
"He is losing hair because he is under so much stress. He doesn't want to go back to Mexico. He has no one there. All of his family is here. My mom doesn't want us to go there either because she says there are no opportunities for us," she said during a quick phone call.
Ana hopes her dad can at least qualify for bond some time after the hearing, and that they can gain some more time to figure out how they can keep their family together.