On Mon. Jan. 30, The Ohio State University Chapter of the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), Immigration Rights organizer Rubén Castilla Herrera, DREAM Act potential students and supporters, faith leaders and mental health professionals partnered with UndocumentedOhio.com and DreamActivist.org., to bring attention to her plight. They met at the Ohio Union on the campus of The Ohio State University, Columbus.
Undocumented Ohio is led by undocumented immigrant youth that advocate for immigrant rights.
Plus, all throughout the United States, other groups have rallied to support Ms. Hernández on the same day. Supporters joined in solidarity in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Raleigh, NC, Tallahassee, FL, Birmingham, AL, Harrisonburg, VA, and Cincinnati, OH.
Over 4,000 supporters have signed onto a national petition that demands she be reunited with her family.
Jacqueline Luna, from MSW, said “The worst thing you could probably do to someone who is suicidal is to leave them alone in their moments of crisis. Deporting someone where they have no support system is doing just that, which will most likely increase their risk of suicide.”
An immigration judge ordered Ms. Hernandez’s deportation, Jan. 25, 2012, to be deported on Tues., January 31.
Ms. Hernández, 22, from Cincinnati, was placed into deportation proceedings after she was arrested and charged with drunken driving in April of 2011 and after she failed to provide proper identification, according to Fairfield Municipal Court records, UndocumentedOhio.com and DreamActivist.org. Ms. Hernández was also charged with forgery; she was sentenced to 9 months in jail, according to court documents and DreamActivist.org.
Ms. Hernández crossed the border into the United States at the age of 13, and has since then worked to support herself. She has not been in Mexico in nearly 10 years, and her entire immediate family lives in Ohio. She dropped out of school at a young age, and at age 15 she worked in an aircraft manufacturing plant.
Ms. Hernández reportedly has been suffering from severe depression and attempted to commit suicide in October of 2009. Her depression went untreated, and she began to self-medicate with alcohol, according to UndocumentedOhio.com and DreamActivist.org.
Marco Saavedra, an organizer, and close friend of Ms. Hernández said while detained, her depression worsened, “She attempted suicide after she begged to just be deported. When her request was rejected, out of desperation, she attempted to take her own life.”
In November of 2011, Joaquin Luna, an undocumented immigrant from Texas, allegedly took his own life due to his immigration status, according to DreamActivist.org and UndocumentedOhio.com
Jonathan Pérez, organizer with the Immigrant Youth Coalition in California, said “We are so worried for Yanelli, she is a part of our community and as undocumented youth we are going to do everything we can to make sure she gets all of the help she needs.”
Wilfredo Santamaria, third year, History of Art major, Latina/o Studies minor from Cleveland said “We feel this is important, as USASers, because we fight injustice through labor. I also feel that we are fighting for Yanelli’s human rights by fighting for her immigrant rights, especially because she is being denied treatment of her mental health.”