When Claudia Portillo, 30, left her North Arcata home two weeks ago, she was confident that her appointment in San Francisco would go well. But Portillo didn’t come back, and what was supposed to be a yearly check in became a fight to bring her home.
Community members will be holding a vigil at the Arcata Plaza tonight at 6pm. The gathering follows the Nov. 14 ICE detention of Portillo, after her annual check-in at the regional U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services in San Francisco.
Jenny Ventura, sister of Portillo, feels that the detention is a demonstration of the failings of the immigration system in the U.S. and how it is dividing families.
“To our family, to many families, this shows how broken our immigration system is,” Ventura said. “Claudia has four daughters, all of them young. She missed Thanksgiving, she will miss Christmas and will miss one of her daughter’s birthdays in a few days. It’s heartbreaking.”
Brenda Urueta, community organizer at the True North Organizing Network, is one of many who are working towards supporting Portillo and her family through the vigil and an online GoFundMe.
“Jenny wanted to have a vigil to let Claudia know that she isn’t alone,” Urueta said. “The GoFundMe is meant to provide funding for the immigration lawyer and for her family to travel down to San Francisco. We set it up under Jenny’s name, True North is helping to facilitate the fund.”
For more information on the event, visit True North’s FaceBook page at:
To visit the GoFundMe, visit the page at:
*Pictured is Portillo [Second to Left] with her daughters and partner. Featured image courtesy of Jenny Ventura*