A family in Jamaica is fighting for the immediate release of their father Edward Alonso Castillo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, as they worry his health is quickly deteriorating while being held in jail for nearly a month.
On Feb. 23, Alonso was transported from Orange County Jail in Goshen, New York, where he’s being held, and admitted to a hospital due to severe chest pains.
Make the Road New York (MRNY) has filed a parole application asking ICE to immediately release Alonso from detention and to stay his deportation, on behalf of his family.
“Alonso is a well-loved community member and needs to be released immediately,” said Jackie Pearce, senior raids response attorney at MRNY. “We are deeply concerned that once he is released from the hospital and returned back to Orange County Jail his health will deteriorate even more.”
Alonso is a longtime Queens resident and co-owner of Babylon Bagel on Long Island, which he runs with his partner Rocio. During the height of the pandemic, they donated food from their business to essential workers and hospitals across Long Island. They also gave out free food on street corners in Queens to many immigrants who didn’t qualify for federal aid, much like themselves.
ICE arrested Alonso while he was on his way to work on Jan. 28.
According to MRNY, Alonso has a history of strokes, wears a cardiac monitor and has experienced severe headaches as well as other health symptoms while being held in ICE detention. A recent medical review of his records concluded that he is at high risk of health complications including another stroke, blood clots and possibly death, and is at risk of suffering severe complications from COVID-19 due to his underlying conditions.
A doctor concluded that Alonso has not received the specialized care he needs at the jail and that he should be released immediately to seek urgent medical care.
Alonso’s arrest came days after President Joe Biden’s administration issued a 100-day moratorium of deportations on his first day in office. But that order was blocked by a judge following a lawsuit from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, according to Politico.
Under the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policy, Alonso is a target for removal not only for his undocumented status, but also for his previous history with law enforcement, according to NY1’s exclusive report. Last year, Alonso was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge that’s currently in the process of being dismissed. Fourteen years ago, he pleaded guilty to transferring false identification, served eight months in prison and was deported.
He later crossed the border again to be with his three U.S.-born children who reside in Staten Island. He is also a father figure to Rocio’s U.S.-born children.
Alonso’s attorney argues that he does not fall into any of ICE’s new priority categories for removal. The agency’s new guidelines state it will focus its “civil immigration enforcement and removal resources on threats to national security, border security and public safety.”
“Under ICE newly issued guidelines, Alonso is not a priority for detention or removal,” Pearce said. “He should be allowed to reunite with his family so that he can seek medical care and continue pursuing relief without the threat of imminent deportation.”
An ICE spokesperson confirmed Alonso was arrested by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers due to his previous history with law enforcement. The spokesperson said Alonso remains in their custody, but did not offer comment regarding ICE’s new guidelines for removal.
Alonso’s family demands that ICE comply with its priorities, release Alonso and halt his removal, so that he can work with his legal team and seek the medical care he needs.
“Every day that Alonso spends detained puts his life at greater risk,” Rocio said. “For the last month, we have been worried about his health and want him to come home where he belongs so that he can get the medical attention that he desperately needs.”