• February 5th, 2023
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After Ten Year Battle, Couple Attains Citizenship


Colorado community leaders Guadalupe “Lupe” López and Abel Bautista no longer face the threat of deportation and are lawful permanent residents after a ten-year battle. Lupe and Abel have five U.S. citizen children and have called the U.S. home 25 years. Their deportation proceedings began in 2012 when Colorado topped the list of most anti-immigrant states in the country. From 2006 to 2013, thousands of Coloradans were thrown into deportation after being profiled by local law enforcement, including Guadalupe López and Abel Bautista. They were stopped for going 8 miles an hour over the speed limit on I-70. Under a 287g agreement, the Colorado State Patrol, acting as immigration officials, arrested everyone in the car and transferred them to immigration.

 

The couple decided to reach out to organizations to learn more about their rights by calling the doculine – 1-844-864-8341 – a statewide hotline run by the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition dedicated to documenting the factors that lead to contact with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and providing support and referrals to Coloradans in deportation and asylum proceedings. Guadalupe found a large community of support in the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and beyond.

 

“This case is about a family that stood up to demand justice in the face of the malfeasance and racism of ICE’s 287(g) agreement with the Colorado State Patrol.”
Hans Meyer, Attorney

 

Guadalupe López explains, “If you are in deportation or asylum proceedings, reach out to our doculine. A community of support is waiting for you! The day the State Patrol profiled my family, pulled us over and unjustly arrested everyone in the car, that day was the first of many assaults on our dignity and humanity. After being released from detention, I couldn’t stop thinking about each insult we endured, about how ICE almost tricked us into signing our deportations and about how other people speeding on I-70 didn’t have to endure all of this. I heard about the doculine on the radio and, after a few weeks, I decided to call. I wanted to be heard, I wanted everyone to know about what was happening to us. After calling the doculine, through organizations, I met dozens of other people being treated unjustly, the same way my family was. That spurred me to fight for the larger community, for everyone’s family. I sought to learn as much as I could, to stop the systems that cause trauma in families like mine and to keep other families from going through that pain.”

 

Today, López is a well-known figure in the Colorado landscape on issues of health, immigrant rights and education. She is on the board of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and on staff for the American Friends Service Committee. Her work for AFSC (American Friends Service Committee) in Morgan County focuses on supporting recently arrived asylum seekers facing triple barriers of adjusting to a new country, finding income and fighting a complex and fast-moving legal battle. She’s a community navigator in her free time with OneMorgan County and the Center for Health Progress and has won multiple awards.

 

All the while the government’s case against her continued. Gabriela Flora of the AFSC said, “I have had the privilege of working with Lupe; supporting community members and lobbying to change local, state and federal policy to make our communities more welcoming. Not1More Deportation member leaders and the hundreds of people around the state who have reported their experiences, are a big part of the reason we defeated and repealed anti-immigrant laws in Colorado. Even so, we know injustice, profiling and deportation continue. By calling 1-844-864-8341 you connect to a community of support and you’re helping organizations identify patterns of abuse and barriers to services.”

 

 

“I have represented dozens of people who called the doculine for assistance with their cases and to report injustice. And those people are better equipped to fight their case because they have a whole community accompanying them,” stated Hans Meyer, Lupe and Abel’s lawyer.

 

“This case is about a family that stood up to demand justice in the face of the malfeasance and racism of ICE’s 287(g) agreement with the Colorado State Patrol – a program that mutates local law enforcement into serving as lackeys for ICE. Yet, despite the racial profiling that resulted in her arrest and immigration court proceedings, Lupe López is the quintessential example of faith and perseverance in the face of adversity,” lawyer Hans Meyer continued. “Lupe is a deeply respected leader in our community who, together with her husband Abel, worked tirelessly to build a better life, provide for their children, become part of their community, keep their family together, and demand fairness from our immigration courts. And finally, after 10 years of struggle, they found that justice and are now lawful permanent residents.”

 

Background on Lupe and Abel

 

Originally from Guatemala, Lupe’s family fled to Chiapas, México prior to her birth and then returned to Guatemala when she was a teenager. Lupe made the difficult decision to leave her family in Guatemala at the age of 16 to help provide for her younger brothers and parents, arriving in the United States in 1998. Abel is from Oaxaca, México and arrived in Colorado in 1997. The two met and fell in love in Colorado in 2000. Together they have five citizen children.

 

Guadalupe and Abel’s deportation process began in September 2012 with a traffic stop, when Abel was driving 8 miles over the speed limit on I-70. Lupe was a passenger in the car. At that time the Colorado State Patrol participated in a program where they were deputized to act as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Lupe and Abel were detained because they couldn’t show driver’s licenses (at that time immigrants weren’t allowed to access licenses), and immediately transferred into ICE custody where they spent four days inside the for-profit GEO detention center.

 

Abel started and continues to grow his siding, windows and doors construction business. He employed three people working on 45 houses in 2019. Abel provides the economic foundation that makes his family’s successes possible. His dedication to his work and family sets a positive model for his children who all excel at school and are in the top of their classes, with each having received academic and/or character awards.

 

Lupe is on the board of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. She staffs Morgan County. Lupe meets regularly with state and federal legislators and local law enforcement to promote pro-immigrant legislation and policies. As part of the Defund Hate campaign, Lupe traveled to Washington, DC to give testimony on why Congress needs to cut funding to ICE and Customs and Border Patrol. Lupe’s first trip to Washington, DC in 2014 was to accompany her oldest son, Kolby, to engage in civil disobedience in support of just and humane immigration reform. Lupe’s faith guides her in her work and is central to her family life.

 

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