On Wednesday, August 2nd, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested Audemio Orozco-Ramirez, the victim of a sexual assault that occurred in ICE custody in October 2013. From the time of his arrest until last night, Audemio’s location was unknown. His family and lawyer did not know if he was in ICE custody in Billings or on his way to Utah for deportation. Late last night, his deportation order was temporarily blocked – giving an intermediary sense of justice for Audemio and his family. 

“The day’s been rough, terrible, and hurtful,” described one of Audemio’s sons as he stood outside the Billings building where his family thought Audemio was being held. Protesters had joined the family and were watching the back and front doors—on guard in case Audemio was quickly smuggled out to be flown to Utah for deportation to Mexico. 

And yet in a day that started with chaos, fear and confusion, and one that felt so out of control opposite a cruel and dehumanizing federal immigration policy, we saw humanity in action.

When news got out that Audemio had been detained at his monthly ICE check-in, Montanans across the state began making phone calls and mobilizing. Friends in Helena and Havre called their Billings family and friends and told them about the rally and vigil. People in Billings left what they were doing to stand watch with Audemio’s family. 

The word kept spreading, more people continued mobilizing, and critical press coverage made Audemio’s fight a state and national story.

When we show up, start calling, sign petitions, and demand accountability, justice is possible. And yesterday, Audemio was able to get temporary justice with a last minute block of his deportation orders.

But we are not done yet. Temporary justice is a successful step—but it is not our end goal. Please take two minutes today to sign and share this petition with ten family and friends. For now, let’s keep the heat on ICE and let them know, if needed, we always show up. #StandwithAudemio

In solidarity,

The ACLU of Montana