A Former ICE Detainee Used His Own Bail Fund to Help Get Other Immigrants Out of Jail

The Trump administration’s war on undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has been a depressing, dehumanizing, and racist process—but in the midst of these outrages, there are still some moments of hope.

In San Diego, Luis Mora, a 20-year-old undocumented Berkeley student who was detained by ICE himself last year, paid the bond for three undocumented immigrants being held at Otay Mesa Detention Center who couldn’t afford to bail themselves out. Mora gave a total of $8,500 so that the other detainees—who were from Mexico, Haiti, and Honduras, respectively—could be with their families while awaiting the conclusion of their cases.


From the San Diego Union Tribune:

“Each of them was in awe of such powerful generosity,” said Monika Langarica, an attorney with the organization representing the three recently released immigrants.

“We fight hard for our clients’ release, but often, any bond amount is an insurmountable obstacle for an individual, or for a family struggling to be reunited,” Langarica said. “Luis and his team’s showing of solidarity with individuals they have never met is powerful. It literally helped people get free, and it should inspire others to do the same.”

Last year Mora, originally from Colombia, was detained by ICE while visiting his girlfriend in San Diego. (The two accidentally took a wrong turn on their way home from a party and ended up at an immigration checkpoint.) A crowdfunding campaign was launched on YouCaring to help Mora and eventually raised over $14,500, far more than his $1,500 bond. So Mora has pledged to use the rest of the money to help other undocumented detainees. Talk about paying it forward. It would, of course, be even better if ICE stopped its reign of terror against immigrants, but you can’t have everything.

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Isha Aran

Isha is a staff reporter who covers pop culture, representation in media, and your new faves.