Category Archives: Events (Washington, DC)

Domestic Violence Victim Confronts Director of "Secure Communities" (VIDEO)

For Immediate Release Contact: Rodolfo Pastor: (202) 577-3576; [email protected]
Domestic Violence Victim Confronts Director of “Secure Communities”
A Call for Help Led to Deportation Proceedings.

11.18.2010– Maria Bolanos, a domestic violence victim who’s call for help led to deportation proceedings, confronted David Venturella, director of the immigration enforcement program, “Secure Communities,” at today’s Woodrow Wilson Center panel discussion.

Bolanos demanded the program be ended and that her case be dropped immediately. “I do not want to be separated from my child. I am not a criminal. I ask that you terminate my case and all those under secure communities.” David Venturella refused to answer Maria’s petition and instead accused the Washington Post of inaccurate reporting. He refused to state whether the administration would stay her deportation.

Watch the dramatic video above or here:

Ms. Bolaños’ call for help resulted in her arrest when responding officers of Prince George’s County charged her with selling phone cards without a license. Though the charges were later dropped, Maria was placed into deportation proceedings through the ICE’s “Secure Communities” program.  Her case and others like it highlight the dangers of the rapidly expanding federal program that matches fingerprints of those taken into police custody with the federal immigration database, creating a deportation dragnet of innocent people and victims like Maria.

ICE is forcing the program upon at least three counties that have voted to not participate in the program due to its secretive nature and evidence of its damage to community and police relations. Those counties (Santa Clara, CA, San Francisco, and Arlington, VA) cite examples like Bolanos as reason for opting out of participation.

Maria’s courageous step to keep her family together and fight her deportation remains to be answered by the Obama Administration. She was joined by dozens of protestors outside as well as representatives from the AFL-CIO, Legal Momentum and other groups fighting domestic violence, as well as CASA de Maryland and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Posted by Deport Nation on Thursday, November 18, 2010.

There were several tense moments today when David Venturella, the assistant director of Secure Communities, addressed a room full of immigration advocates at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

“This is a tough topic,” Venturella said during his opening remarks. “I understand it elicits a lot of emotion.”

At one point, Maria Bolanos, a domestic violence victim who’s call for help led to deportation proceedings, confronted David Venturella.

“I called the police after a fight with my partner. I thought they would help me,” said Bolanos, through Ashwini Jaisingh, a translator and organizer with Casa De Maryland. “But through this the police turned me over to ICE, and now I have a deportation order.”

Bolanos has a 21-month old daughter and asked Venturella to dismiss her case immediately.

Venterella said he did not want to discuss the case publicly, but told Bolanos her case “was not a Secure Communities referral.”

Several attorneys in the room offered other examples of cases where their clients had been turned over to ICE after they were taken into police custody after domestic violence disputes.

Hearing on Secure Communities Act: July 12


Photo: adamsofen (

Hearing on Secure Communities Act

Date:   MONDAY July 12, 2010
Time:  4:00 PM (gathering time)
Location:   Wilson Building 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, ROOM 500

To testify at the hearing contact Mackenzie Baris at 202-974-8224 by noon on Friday

Real Community Safety, YES!    Fear and Criminalization, No!

The District of Columbia has helped spark a national movement in being the first city in the nation to reject the falsely named and dangerous Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “Secure Communities” program. Last month the DC council unanimously introduced legislation to stop the program and on Monday July 12 we again come together to push for the passage of this unprecedented act. Be part of history. Be there.

In November 2009, the DC Metropolitan Police Department signed an agreement to forward fingerprint information of arrested individuals (U.S. Citizen and Non-U.S. Citizens) to a database that will notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about the arrestee’s immigration status regardless whether the person is guilty or innocent or the arrest is later deemed unlawful. The program is antithetical to community policing and the core promise of our justice system.

Sponsored by: SEIU 32BJ, The Latino Federation, DC Jobs with Justice, Empower DC, Latino Action Coalition of DC, National Capitol ACLU, Different Avenues, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Rights Working Group, DC Latino Caucus, The Latino Association of Mt Pleasant, Mil Mujeres Legal Services, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, CARECEN, DC, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, LIUNA United Construction Workers and over 100 community and civil rights organizations

Express Your Outrage About Arizona’s SB 1070 in Washington, DC May 29th

Join Us In Washington, DC and Express Your Outrage About Arizona’s SB 1070!

This Saturday May 29 in Washington, DC
Stand in solidarity with the National Day of Action Against SB 1070
Help Stop the So Called “Secure communities” Collaboration in DC, MD, and VA

Saturday, May 29th
Noon-1pm: Outrage through Art in Dupont Circle

1pm-1:30pm Rally at Dupont Circle

1:30-2pm March to the White House

SB 1070 codifies hatred into law, disrupts national unity, and constitutes the most blatantly racist legislation in recent memory. Arizona’s new law is the direct result of the federal government’s reckless empowerment of local enforcement agencies to enforce what should be an exclusive federal responsibility: immigration law.

Sign the Petition to President Obama &
Join us this Saturday May 29 at Noon in Dupont Circle!

Say no to racial profiling and anti-immigrant hate!

To co-sponsor the event in DC email mbaris at

For more information please visit

Video and Photos of March 2010 Hearing in Washington, DC

On March 19, 2010 nearly 200 people packed the Metropolitan Police Oversight Hearing at the DC District Council with “Moratorium Now” stickers and signs that read “Stop the Failed Secure Communities” program. Their questions and testimonies uncovered the truth on a failed program that threatened to erode public trust, hurt community policing efforts, open the door for racial profiling, and overturn the city’s rich history and pro-immigrant policies.  Through their strong organizing and advocacy they were able to delay the program’s implementation. This marked a partial victory in their campaign to completely reject the program in their city.

These efforts are the work of a broad coalition that includes labor, civil rights, community, immigrant, domestic violence and faith groups. Some participating groups: DC Jobs with Justice, The Latino Federation, Empower DC, Latino Action Coalition of DC, National Capitol ACLU, Different Avenues,  Rights Working Group, DC Latino Caucus, The Latino Association of Mt Pleasant, Mil Mujeres Legal Services, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, CARECEN, DC Trans Coalition, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, National Immigration Project, National Day Laborer Organizing Network and over 100 community and civil rights organizations.

Friday’s hearing you can be watched here:

Fox news report. Begin watching at minute 1:35 to 2:24.

Photos from hearing (Photo credit: Pabitra Benjamin):