Alex Zhang

This story has been updated on Dec. 19 to reflect the latest development. 

Despite weeks of student activism, Melecio Andazola Morales, the father of Viviana Andazola Marquez ’18, has been deported to Mexico and barred from re-entering the United States for 20 years, Andazola Marquez told the News on Sunday night.

At 11 a.m. on Friday, Andazola Morales was removed from a detention facility in Denver, Colorado, where he had been held for 64 days. From there, his daughter said, he was flown to El Paso, Texas, and then to Arizona, where he was placed in another detention facility for four hours before being transferred to a bus, cuffed by his hands and feet and driven to Nogales, Mexico.

The case sparked outrage at Yale and on other college campuses across the country after Andazola Morales was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a private detention center in Aurora, Colorado run by the GEO Group. Students signed petitions supporting Andazola Morales and gathered in La Casa Cultural to make phone calls to ICE, while students at other colleges — from Harvard to San Diego University — joined a photo campaign calling for his freedom. The #FreeMelecio campaign also garnered the support of U.S. Reps. Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, all Colorado Democrats.

But those efforts failed to sway U.S. immigration authorities. On Friday, ICE director Jeffrey Lynch denied Andazola Morales a stay of removal, paving the way for his deportation, Andazola Marquez told the News. She said ICE did not notify her father’s attorney that Lynch had denied her father his final recourse for staying in the country.

Andazola Morales told the family’s lawyer at 8 a.m on Friday that he was still in the

in the detention facility and had made it through a wave of scheduled deportations earlier that morning, Andazola Marquez explained. This led her family to believe he had at least one more week in the country, as the deportations usually took place early each Friday morning, Andazola Morales explained. But three hours later, immigration officials asked Andazola Morales to pack his belongings and prepare to leave the facility.

“They didn’t come get my dad until 11 a.m, and my dad was convinced he was going to be released in the U.S. because of that,” she said. “But instead, they took him to the airport.”

In accordance with ICE policy, Andazola Morales was not allowed to contact anyone outside the facility about his imminent removal from the country once his deportation began, but his family was still under the impression that he was not set to be deported on Friday because he had made it past the regularly scheduled deportations.

“For operational security reasons, ICE Denver detainees housed in the Aurora Contract Detention Facility, who have been processed for removal on the next ICE Air Operations flight, are considered to be ‘in transit,’ and are not authorized to make phone calls,” Carl Rusnok, a communications director for ICE, told the News. “The phones for this out-processing area are shut down until the ICE Air flight departs.”

Still, Andazola Marquez said she believes the timing of her father’s deportation after the family believed he was safe was “a calculated decision” by ICE to prevent the family from taking last-minute action to prevent the deportation.

Andazola Marquez and her family first suspected that something was amiss in the evening when Andazola Morales did not call them after detainee phone lines were restored. Andazola Marquez said she contacted ICE with questions, but no one would tell her the location of her father.

Asked to respond to Andazola Marquez’s claim that the timing of the deportation was “calculated,” Rusnok said there were “no out-of-the-ordinary schedule changes with the Dec. 15 ICE Air Operations (IAO) flight” and that “IAO flights routinely change for myriad reasons in detention management.”

On Saturday morning, Andazola Morales called his family to inform them that he was in Mexico and barred from re-entering the United States for two decades.

“My family will not be united for the holidays and will be facing economic hardship,” Andazola Marquez said. “We do not currently have the funds to help my dad secure a home and a vehicle, or to move my two younger sisters, who will be forced to leave the country in the wake of his removal.”

In the wake of the deportation, the Yale community has continued advocating for Andazola Marquez’s family. Director of La Casa Eileen Galvez asked that students and members of the community help the family with expenses related to relocating to Mexico in a newsletter sent out on Monday.

“We’re asking people to please donate anything they can, and help make this transition easier on Melecio, his wife, and daughters,” Galvez wrote. “If you can help in any way during this holiday season, it would be very much appreciated.”

A GoFundMe launched by Andazola Marquez on Dec. 18 has already raised more than $21,000 to help family cover the expenses of relocating to Mexico.

Britton O’Daly | britton.odaly@yale.edu

  • discuss

    Is there a gofundme for this family since the government is a piece of trash?

    • Margret Jenkins

      American government not piece of trash just following the law they knew what they were in for.

    • Gwen Cooper

      If so, hopefully it’ll be used to let liberals fund the return of the rest of the family to Mexico.

    • BeanAdult

      If you don’t like the government why don’t you run for office and change things? Or do you prefer to sit on your butt and complain?

  • CentralJerseyMom

    “Despite weeks of student activism, Melecio Andazola Morales, father of Viviana Andazola Marquez ’18, has been deported to Mexico and barred from re-entering the United States for 20 years.”

    This is a sad story for everyone, and I feel for this family, but there should be a lesson for students here. It’s not “despite student activism.’ Student activism doesn’t and never did have anything to do with it. We have laws in this country. When you are in violation of those laws, you get a lawyer and you do your best to work within the law. Sometimes you lose. Particularly if your case does not have strong legal merit.

    When students are able to strong arm their administration into doing whatever they want, they come to believe that that’s the way the world works — demanding that duly enacted laws passed by a democratically elected government not be enforced is as simple as screaming out your demands that your school administration get rid of someone who wrote an email you don’t like. It isn’t. And that’s a good thing. Because all that stands between any of us and the howling mob is due process. And the way it works is that sometimes you get the results you like. Sometimes you don’t.

    • Alejandra Corona Ortega

      Look, This is not the time to share your points of view about how “the system works.” Undocumented students and their families have always known how it works. You clearly do not feel for them otherwise you would know that taking a family member away was not the solution here. Viviana did all she could within her power. If Yale can work to sink a struggling island even further into debt then it could probably also lobby to save a father from deportation.
      Secondly, Please inform yourself because being here as an undocumented person does not warrant you a lawyer for your case. it is a civil offense and not a criminal one.
      Finally, guess what? If you think that public outcry has never worked then you have not read enough history. People of color have always needed to stand up against this “due process” because it has never been fair. I see you are referencing the Halloween incident and sometimes that is how the world works. People get fired for not representing the principles of a company even though what they did is not illegal. Why shouldn’t Yale, a corporation that is here to guarantee that the students have a great and rigorous learning experience, make sure that its employees represent that mission that Yale gets to define as narrowly and broadly as it wants to?
      Now, Stop calling getting your family deported as “Not the result you want.” like it’s a freaking math question or line of coding. It is not. We get it, you want us to stop being “cuddled” but don’t get mad at us for using all the resources we have available and for expecting the country and the govt. to look out for the interests of the citizens it claims it loves and wants to protect. These children no longer have their father after being a member of our country. After bringing strong and amazing people into this world with values and intelligence. His deportation is a loss and one you just haven’t realized yet.

      • ShadrachSmith

        I have considered and accept that loss, without apology, because the rule of law is more important.

        • concerned

          The rule of law–like the original New Haven Colony’s execution of a 15 year old for alleged bestiality. There is another agenda here (originalists are you paying attention?) and it involves bad relations with our neighbors.

          • ShadrachSmith

            Whataboutism is out of flavor, rhetorically. So don’t do that.

            The rule of law is a good thing, it protects me. For better or worse it’s the legal bedrock of American culture, modern logistics, the Uniform Commercial Code, flush toilets, and even legal immigration. Bring me a law professor who says different and I’ll have black letter words for him.

          • concerned

            Too easy. The rule of law doesn’t protect me. And since DNA analysis we have the best rape defense as consensual sex. Then there is evolution and climate change. These are laws of nature, no law professor required.

      • CentralJerseyMom

        There are two separate issues here.

        The first is immigration policy in general– for example, (a) should we have any laws or policies which limit immigration in any way in the first place? (b)What should those laws or polices be? (c) Are there any circumstances under which people who enter the country in violation of those laws should be deported and, if so, what are those circumstances?

        The second issues is: What civil proceedings, if any, should flow from Melecio Andazola Morales failure to comply with current immigration law?

        Guess what — I’m old too. I actually marched against the Vietnam war in the 70’s. My brother was a draft resistor. So yes, student activism can change public opinion. Of course what really made the difference was that 50,000 lives and millions of dollars were lost over more than a decade with no actual military or political progress to show for it, and no country is going to keep pouring money and blood down a rat hole whether students are out demonstrating in the streets or not.

        The plain fact is that, in terms of issue number one, the vast majority of the country , including the majority of democrats, actually do want immigration laws, and do want them enforced. I refer you to the comments section of the NY Times for any article they write on the subject — and that is a very left-wing newspaper. Open borders are inherently anti-labor and pro-big business. If you think the slums of the inner city are bad, give us 10 years of open borders and we’ll have favelas instead. If you are African American, if you are a member of the labor force at any level, this is very bad news. So “student activism” when it consists of 100 kids standing in the main quad of their campus holding up signs in which they “demand” that enforcement of immigration laws cease is simply pointless.

        On the second issue — as to whether or not Melecio Andazola Morales should be deported — this is not a policy issue, it’s a legal issue. I’m not sure why the previous commenter is under the impression that lawyers only deal with criminal law, not civil law. The vast majority of lawyers deal only with civil law. So this man needs a lawyer. On the other hand, it may be that his case does not actually have legal merit, in which case the best he could hope for is some kind of special pleading. But that’s not guaranteed to work. So you have to accept that not everyone who challenges the law is going to win. And if the law in specific cases were decided, not on the facts, but on what the mob out in the street was demanding, we would all be in a very dangerous situation.

        • ShadrachSmith

          I fought in the Vietnam war, when your nation calls, you answer. One way or another, you answer.

          • CentralJerseyMom

            I agree. One way or another. That’s why I have no respect for draft dodgers. If you feel that you cannot, in good conscience, participate in a war, then you stand up and say so and take the consequences if necessary. You do not say, in the words of Phil Ochs “Draft Dodger Rag” “someone’s gotta go over there and that someone isn’t me.”

      • Bob

        I bet you think the immigration laws that mandate deportation of illegal aliens (the legal term) was crafted by white men. You’d be mostly wrong. Deportation was the policy recommendation of Texas Rep. Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) who was appointed in 1995 by Pres. Bill Clinton to Chair the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. After the Commission she chaired released its findings and recommendations, Rep. Jordan was called to testify before Congress and the key statement of her testimony was the following:

        Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave. The top priorities for detention and removal, of course, are criminal aliens. But for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process.

        BTW, Rep. Barbara Jordan (Dem) was the first black person elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first southern black woman elected to the U.S. Congress. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and she was the first black woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery. Her dad was a Baptist preacher and her mother a maid. If you ever fly to Austin you will see an awesome statute of Rep. Jordan in the airport. Trust me, you can’t miss it. 😉

        But most important, when Barbara Jordan spoke, everyone in Texas (and the country) listened regardless of their political affiliation because she was a brilliant and electric orator. Barbara Jordan was an American treasure and I wish she had the national recognition that she deserves. And she’s correct that emotion has no place in crafting immigration and citizenship policies.

    • Voice of Reason

      You’re so wrong, mom. Perhaps you recall a little thing we used to call, “The Vietnam War?” It was student activism, more than anything else that got the attention of the voting public. We kept at it, marching, demonstrating, and holding ‘sit-ins’ (which I recall being a part of when I was a student). We let the politicians know that we wouldn’t support them, if they didn’t support us. That’s not “a howling mob.” That’s the populace demanding of their government ‘a redress of grievances’ as is guaranteed in the Constitution. And, as you recall: We. Ended. The. War. So, to the students of today, from a student from the 1970s: never stop protesting. Never stop marching. Never stop chanting. Push until it gives. Make your voices heard. It’s your right.

    • yaleyeah

      We seem to have one political party in this country that no longer believe in the rule of law, and are constantly challenging the 1st Amendment with demands for censorship of speech. The threat to our nation’s future should not be underestimated.

    • concerned

      Who needs a declared war with the Russian empire when we can use our own laws to tear ourselves apart so effectively.

  • yaleyeah

    First, the administration is only deporting people with a criminal record, so there is another side to this story. Second, had this man been found to be illegally in Mexico, he would have been deported much faster, banned from the country and immediately thrown in prison, if he showed up in Mexico again.

    • Mark

      The administration is not “only deporting people with a criminal record.” You are either ill-informed or intentionally spreading falsehoods.

  • joeblow55

    Goodbye. Living here is a privilege, not a right.

  • Ash55

    I’m happy to see our laws being enforced!!!!

  • BeanAdult

    HE knew what could happen when he entered the country illegally. Bye bye Amigo.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Yale has gone to a lot of trouble to make President Trump your enemy.

    I ask with the innocence of a child: is that smart?

  • James

    As a legal immigrant, all I’m saying is get in line.

    • Mark

      Ah, the line. The line where each family’s situations is reviewed in an expedient, compassionate manner? The line where each situation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis? The one where criminal records and community contributions are carefully considered? Is that the line you’re referring to, James? Or are you referring to the line where people who have lived here for much of their lives (or even their entire lives) are sent back to places they have never been and do not know? The line where people are removed from homes they own and jobs they’ve had for years. The line where people disappear from the communities they know and love? The line where congregations wonder what happened to people they used to see at church every weekend, where neighbors wonder what happened to their neighbors, and family members leave behind documented family members with whom they’ve spent a lifetime. Is that the line they should “just get in?” I had no idea it was so simple, James. Thanks for clarify things for me.

      • ER worker

        Yes, THAT line. And don’t commit any crimes. Easy to do.

    • adam smith

      It’s a lot easier to come here from Asia than places like Mexico. The average wait time from Mexico is twenty years from when you start the process. Did you wait twenty years?

  • Betsy Rocks

    Feliz Navidad !!

  • Goldie ’08

    Wave that flag. Wave it wide and high

  • WondrngAbout

    The story is not written well. Why? It lacks context and links/resources for further reading to understand the story. Isolated it only has any significance to those who already know all relevant details.

  • Debbie

    Viviana has my sympathy, but I see no good argument for letting her father
    stay here. Her father has my sympathy too — I know I’d be bummed out if
    I got sent to Mexico against my will from a country that’s so much better than Mexico and which I’d become accustomed to living in and hoped to stay. But nothing in this article explains the legal argument for keeping her father (who snuck back in after he was deported in 1997) here. Nothing in the article explains the practical benefit to the US and its citizens of keeping him here. It’s all about emotion.

    Viviana Andazola Marquez’s Yale application essay was published in the
    NY Times ( https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/05/09/business/student-essays-your-money.html ). He father doesn’t seem like a very good provider, since he didn’t even provide his four children a home for years. It’s not like we have a serious shortage of homegrown homeless or poor people and need to import more of them.

    • ER worker

      I agree with you 100%. It is sad to see a family split up, but if you come BACK into the country after you are deported, what do you expect- the government to turn a blind eye? It is ridiculous- and it will encourage more people to circumvent the immigration system. My family waited for 10+ years to come to the USA with legal status

    • adam smith

      Then we need to also have zero sympathy for US Marines who violate Mexican laws and bring guns there and instead of lobbying for them to be released let them rot in a Mexican prison for violating that country’s laws.