Samuel Soto Released After Help From Activists and Sen. Nelson

This week, the Soto family received the news they had been praying for, Samuel Soto would be released with an Order of Supervision. 

Activists gathered over 8,000 signatures on a petition for Soto’s release and prompted a letter of support from Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL). Activists are now turning to Nelson to support another father with a similar case that contacted activists about Soto.

“This is exactly what we have been fighting for,” said Silvia Soto, Samuel’s wife. “We have known all along that my husband is not a priority for deportation and with this he will be able to fight his deportation from outside of detention. I really want to thank Senator Nelson for finally stepping up to help my husband, however now I wish for him to do the same for others in my husband’s situation.”

Organizers with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance were made aware of Samuel Soto’s case by another detainee, Claudio Rojas, an Argentinian father of two detained at the Broward Detention Center since February 10th of this year. “It’s ironic that Samuel is out and Claudio is still detained especially since we found out about Samuel’s case through Claudio,” said Viridiana Martinez, an organizer with NIYA who infiltrated the detention center last month to gather stories. “We have been asking Senator Nelson’s office to demand ICE release Claudio for over a month now. With Samuel’s release we are hoping this means Senator Nelson is finally ready to also advocate for Claudio’s immediate release.”

Claudio Rojas was detained after missing a deportation deadline. He was initially placed into removal proceedings after his son was stopped at thePortofEvergladesin 2010. Agents at the gate asked that he present himself, both he and his son Emiliano were initially detained for 3-months at theBrowardDetentionCenter. “We miss him a lot, he was our rock. Without him my mom has to sell our home. My 15-year old brother cries for him to come home all the time. It makes no sense why he is detained and why it is taking so long for Senator Nelson to intervene.” Emiliano Rojas, Claudio’s 22-year old son, said.

Senator Nelson has had the case of Claudio Rojas since mid-July. In a letter issued on August 9th he asked DHS for a review, yet has not said if he supports the plight of the Rojas family. The Senator has said it might take up to 4-weeks to hear from DHS, “it makes no sense why we have to wait 4 weeks, either may dad is low-priority or he isn’t. We are asking Senator Nelson to step up his advocacy just like he did for Samuel’s case.”

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