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|3/14: Gay binational couple forced to have wedding in detention center
Released 29 March 2016  By FreeGuillermo
Gay binational couple forced to have wedding in detention center
#FreeGuillermo: https://ssl.capwiz.com/aclu/ca/issues/alert/?alertid=70947656&type=CU (please sign and share on social media)
Married on March 14, 2016, Guillermo and Tom Swann Hernandez should be on their honeymoon right now. Instead, Guillermo is trapped in a for-profit immigration detention center in isolated Calexico, CA that is hours away from his new husband Tom, who struggles as a veteran living with AIDS and blindness, without the care taking Guillermo provides.
Guillermo has lived in the United States since he was seven-years-old. While he had previously been protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the government took it away because he was convicted of trespassing for being in a casino in his hometown of Palm Springs when he was 20 and because when he was younger he had been arrested for being a passenger in a car that turned out to be stolen.
Guillermo was then arrested for drug possession, but Tom and Guillermo’s family convinced the prosecutor and judge to agree to let Guillermo go to rehab instead of jail. However, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents had other plans and arrested Guillermo as he was leaving the courthouse for rehab on January 25, 2016, and they took him away to immigration detention instead while making homophobic jokes.
Tom and Guillermo had been introduced by friends last year and quickly fell in love. They were engaged on Christmas Eve and had plans to marry on Valentine’s Day. Tom is a fighter and will not give up on their love or marriage. He is both a Marine Corps and Navy Reserve veteran and successfully sued the federal government in 1994 with the help of the ACLU for being denied a security clearance for being gay. The lawsuit prompted then-Navy Secretary John Howard Dalton to add sexual orientation protection to the Navy Equal Employment Opportunity policy. A Navy Achievement medalist, Tom is a recognized activist and has written a book about his life.
“I really love Guillermo," says Tom. "Because of my blindness I am often depressed. Guillermo makes me smile and laugh. Nobody has ever asked me to marry them before now. Guillermo may get deported, but I know we still have a bright future together.”
Tom is willing to move to Mexico to be with Guillermo, despite the increasing violence against gay men there.
For these reasons we are asking that Guillermo Hernandez (A#204786173) be granted prosecutorial discretion and be released from detention so he can remain with his husband and provide the appropriate care his husband needs.
Guillermo's attorneys at Centro Legal de la Raza are fighting hard for his release but he needs your help. Sign the action below and join the ACLU, California Immigrant Policy Center, National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Centro Legal de la Raza in telling ICE to #FreeGuillermo.
Learn more about Guillermo and Tom's love, which transcends detention:
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