#FreeDennis High School is for Education Not Criminalization & Deportation
Houston ICE Field Office
19-year-old Dennis was detained after bullies made fun of him for being undocumented, going so far as to throw bottles at him.
On Tuesday, January 30th, after he was repeatedly bullied by his classmates, he decided to defend himself. Things escalated and he found himself in an altercation with one of the bullies. Instead of de-escalating the situation, and guiding Dennis and his classmate in reconciliation, HISD’s troubling protocol allowed HISD Police Department to arrest Dennis on charges of assault, which the District Attorney immediately filed against him. Within hours he was transferred to Harris County Jail where an ICE hold was placed on him for being undocumented.
Students go to school for education, and they should feel safe while they’re there. They shouldn’t have to fear that they’ll be disciplined by police - or worse end up in detention or deported.
Dennis was eligible for, and paid, a $2,000 bond, but instead of being released to his family, the Sheriff’s Department handed him over to ICE. This is because the Sheriff's Department has a policy to work closely with ICE by sharing information, allowing them to interrogate individuals in the jail, and to pick them up before they leave the jail. Because Dennis was not given any information about his rights, the information he shared about himself alerted ICE of his presence at the jail. This ongoing collaboration between the Sheriff's Department and ICE is just a way to increase mass deportations locally.
A high school Senior at Austin High School, Dennis was accepted to both Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Lamar University, and plans to study computer science. If deported, Dennis will be sent back to Honduras, a place of extreme violence and insecurity. And he will not be able to graduate in May or attend college in the Fall of 2019.
The outrageous reality is that too many systems have failed Dennis and many other immigrant youth. HISD failed Dennis by letting police officers decide that incarceration is the solution to bullying. The District Attorney’s office failed Dennis by using their discretion to charge and prosecute Dennis, and to file a second case against him for forfeiting his bond, which was of no fault of his own because he went into ICE custody. The Sheriff's Department failed Dennis by obtaining information from him that was shared with ICE and then allowed ICE to arrest him from the jail.
Teachers, students, friends and Dennis’ family are outraged. It is time to take action and help Dennis’ deportation be stopped!
Sign this petition and call ICE to demand Dennis be released from detention immediately and let him go back to school.
Call Houston ICE Field Office at 888-343-2060 and use the following script (feel free to personalize it)
“My name is ______________, and I am calling on behalf of Dennis Rivera- Sarmiento [A# 205-876-341]. Dennis is a senior at Austin High School and has been accepted by two Texas colleges to study computer science in the Fall of 2018. Dennis should be at school right now and not in detention. We demand that he be granted a stay of deportation and be released from detention immediately.”
Houston ICE Field Office
From: [Your Name]
Release Dennis Rivera- Sarmiento [A# 205-876-341].
Dennis is a senior at Austin High School and has been accepted by two Texas colleges to study computer science in the Fall of 2018. Dennis should be at school right now and not in detention. We demand that he be granted a stay of deportation and be released from detention immediately.