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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” – Paulo Freire, Educator

Deported over a Chihuahua?

Here's the message we sent to our members. After you've read it, please add your voice.

Tell Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

A barking Chihuahua shouldn't lead to Ruth's deportation

Dear Friend,

Normally, a barking dog might get you annoyed looks from your neighbors or a note in your mailbox, but can you imagine permanent separation from your family over a rowdy Chihuahua? Ruth Montaño, a 38-year-old farmworker and mother, is actually facing deportation after the local sheriff’s office sent six patrol cars to respond to a barking complaint over her two dogs, Cookie and Esponja, and took her into custody.1

Tell Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) not to deport Ruth Montaño for something as ridiculous as barking Chihuahuas.

We know from the past that the only way to get ICE to stop incredibly unjust deportations like this one is if thousands of us speak out. This year, Presente.org members were able to stop the deportation of DREAMer and activist Erika Andiola’s family and to reunite Felipe Montes with his children. Now, we need to stand behind Ruth. As a mother of U.S. citizen children who has lived in the U.S. for 13 years, she does not fit ICE’s own guidelines for deportation priorities.

Ruth was shocked to come home to six patrol cars the day neighbors complained about Cookie and Esponja. “When I tried to figure out what the problem could be, the deputies called me and my kids ‘trash,’” she says. “They insulted me for not speaking English despite the fact that I've made the U.S. my home. Then they pushed me and hit me. I begged them, ‘please don't take me,’ but they arrested me for ‘resisting arrest.’”

Ruth’s lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are baffled—and outraged—that Ruth was charged with “resisting arrest” even though a noise complaint over barking dogs is not an arrestable offense.

Tell Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) not to deport Ruth Montaño for something as ridiculous as barking Chihuahuas.

Ruth’s deportation was triggered by a federal program called S-COMM that entangles local police in immigration enforcement, making us all less safe. Thanks to S-COMM, immigrants are regularly put into deportation over as minor an infraction as a broken taillight or, as we see now, a noise complaint over some barking dogs. “We see local sheriffs motivated by someone’s immigration status…They knew that if they arrested her that it could possibly result in deportation,” says Ruth’s lawyer.

Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have restricted S-COMM in the state and prevented ridiculous deportations like Ruth’s.2 It’s critical that we continue to speak up for people like Ruth until lawmakers take notice that S-COMM does not work and that the TRUST Act must be passed. Please sign this petition to keep Ruth home and to send a strong message to ICE and lawmakers that a barking Chihuahua is not a reason to rip a family apart.

Tell Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) not to deport Ruth Montaño for something as ridiculous as barking Chihuahuas.

Thank you and ¡adelante!

Gabriela, Ana, Arturo, Roberto, Erick and the entire Presente.org team

P.S. Can you donate $5 to support our work? We rely on money from people like you to see campaigns like this through.

1. "Barking Dogs May Lead To Woman's Deportation." Fox News Latino. Feb. 28, 2013.
2. "TRUST Act Vetoed: California Gov. Jerry Brown Calls Limits On Immigration Enforcement 'Flawed'." Huffington Post. Oct. 1, 2012.