Migrant Youth: August 2009 Archives

Herta is still set to be deported, so we still need to write letters in support of her.  I will write more about that later, but for now I will just post this press release:

For Immediate Release
19 August 2009

Mohammad Abd, dreamactivist.org: 734-262-9705
Ali Jost, SEIU: 202-730-7159

After Days of Intense Congressional and Grassroots Activism...

DHS Grants Detroit Honor Student Extension on Deportation to Albania

Activists Continue Pressuring DHS to Extend Herta Llusho's Stay Until Passage of DREAM Act and Federal Immigration Reform

Detroit, MI - Today, after days of activism by Senator Carl Levin, Representative Carolyn Kilpatrick and thousands of grassroots activists, the Department of Homeland Security granted 19-year-old Detroit honor student, Herta Llusho, a temporary extension of her deportation to Albania. Originally planned for August 19, DHS has extended the deportation date until November 9, allowing a growing, national network of activists to continue to push for a more permanent extension for Llusho.
Marissa Graciosa of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement was asked to write a letter in support of Herta Llusho.  You can download a copy of her letter here (pdf).  The text of her letter is below:

Dear Secretary Napolitano,

A bright, deserving student from Detroit is about to be deported, and we implore you to act to
stop this injustice.
Frank Sharry of America's Voice was asked to write a letter in support of Herta Llusho.  You can download a copy of his letter here (pdf).  The text of his letter is below:

Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

I am writing to support deferral and review of Herta Llusho's deportation order. She is scheduled for deportation on August 19, 2009.
Herta has produced another stellar media performance in the face of adversity over on the local FOX channel.  Amy Lange and the news anchors did an excellent job of covering Herta's story and their link to dreamactivist.org is much appreciated.  The link to their story on Herta is here and I will embed the video below:

The above picture was taken at a rally in support of Herta Llusho.

I don't have much time to write about Herta' story this very early morning, but I'm going to do my best to update people in preparation for the last day we can do something to stop the deportation of Herta Llusho.  If you have not yet signed this petition and taken the actions listed in support of Herta Llusho, than please do so.  You can get the latest information from this facebook group.

If you have done all of the above, than I encourage you to focus all of your energy onto calling, faxing, and emailing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as it is ultimately in their hands whether Herta is sent back to Albania or not.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a part of DHS.  The latest message I got from the facebook group suggests calling these two numbers, but things are change hourly so check back here for updates:

1: Call LaSal Austin, director of the local DHS in Michigan, at 313-259-8562. Demand that he take legislators' leads and take immediate action to defer the deportation of Herta Llusho.

2: Call John Morton, Assistant Secretary of ICE, at the comment line 202-732-3000 . Demand that he contact Mr. Austin in the local DHS office and take immediate action to defer Herta's deportation.
Stop Herta's Deportation - Facebook (17 August 2009)

SEIU also has a handy-dandy click-to-fax tool up that will send a fax directly to Vincent Clausen, the Michigan ICE Field Officer, whom I hope will do the right thing and defer Herta's deportation.
I was informed of this quite a while ago, but I wanted to formally announce that Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick wrote a letter in support of Herta, yesterday.  I just uploaded a copy of this letter here (pdf).
Channel 7 Action News has a good report on Herta's story.  There was some good media coverage of Herta's story, yesterday, and I can only hope that it's enough to swing things in our favor this last day.


Following is a list of blogs media outlets that have covered Herta's story since it was first published by dreamactivist.org on August 11, 2009.
It was a wild two days at Netroots Nation.  It's good to see the Obama administration feeling some pressure from progressives as a result of it, though I wish there had been more of a push back on migration policy.  I didn't attend Valarie Jarrett's talk, but I am told she was asked a question on migration policy.  I should have gone and done my own heckling and hissing on the subject. 

There's so much to write coming out of Netroots Nation, but I'm going to be focused on Herta Llusho's case until Wednesday, when she is set to be deported.  Look for more after then, and in the meantime, join the campaign to support Herta!
If you have not heard of Herta Llusho, yet, she has published her story in blogs far and wide.  I also recommend you read my post on why Herta's story is so important.  More importantly, though, please take the following actions in support of Herta.

It appears social media has beat out old media, yet again.  Since Herta Llusho's story was first published by dreamactivist.org on August 11, 2009, over 2,000 people have both signed a change.org petition and joined a facebook group in support of her.  19 different blogs, both large and small, have covered her case.  I encourage politicians from Michigan to check out that list of blogs because many of their constituents are leaving comments on them. 

Despite all of this social media activity, not a single traditional media outlet has reported on Herta's case.  Fortunately, politicians don't wait on old media anymore.  They listen to their constituents voices, amplified by social media.  That is why I am excited to report, with the heroic assistance of Josh Bernstein from SEIU, that U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) has written a letter in support of Herta Llusho.

If you've taken all of the actions below, you can help others to see this post by digging it, tweeting it, stumbling it, etc.

Another day another DREAM.  Over the last few days, I have been working hard with Herta Llusho and her brother Lirjon to support their campaign to defer Herta's deportation on August 19, 2009.  If you haven't read her story yet, I recommend that you do.  Please, take the following actions in support of Herta and help her stay in the only country she knows as her home:


  1. Join the facebook group for immediate updates: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111108019510
  2. Sign petition which will be hand-delivered to targets: http://www.change.org/actions/view/stop_deportation_of_dream_student_herta_llusho
  3. Use SEIU Click to Call Action Tool to call DHS: http://call.seiu.org/9/hertadhs
  4. Call Senator Carl Levin at (202) 224-6221. Urge him to a) introduce private bill for Herta, and b) write letter to DHS asking them to stop Herta's deportation.
  5. Call Senator Stabenow at (202) 224-4822. Urge her to a) introduce private bill for Herta, and b) write letter to DHS asking them to stop Herta's deportation.
  6. Call Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick at (202) 225-2261. Urge her to a) introduce private bill for Herta, and b) write letter to DHS asking them to stop Herta's deportation.
I first heard about Herta through the folks at dreamactivist.org, whom I have been working and spending a lot of time with, lately.  In typical dreamactivist.org fashion, if you get involved they'll find a way to use you anyway they can.  So, while I was in Michigan visiting family, Mo from dreamactivist.org contacted me and told me Herta and her brother, Lirjon, would be coming over so that I could meet with them and help Herta tell her story.  I worked closely with her on her story, and I also recorded the above video.

My name is Herta Llusho, I am 19 years old, and I writing this because I am about to be deported.  I was born in Albania and was brought to the United States when I was 11 years old.   With the help and support of my family, I have struggled through more than seven years of legal proceedings to find a way to stay in this country legally.  Despite our best efforts, on August 19, I will be removed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from the only place I know as my home.  I will be sent back to a country that has become a foreign place to me.  I don't even speak Albanian well anymore.  My only hope of staying here is for as many people as possible to ask DHS to delay my deportation until the DREAM Act is passed.