Dear Mr. Rivera:
I am the Executive Director of Latino Memphis, a Memphis based non-profit organization. I have known Mr. Duran for approximately 8 years. Mr. Duran’s community advocacy and political involvement in Memphis, TN has played a fundamental role in promoting fair and honest reporting within the immigrant community.
Mr. Duran is a peaceful individual who seeks to create a positive dialogue between the Latino community, local law enforcement and political leaders.
I fear that his continued dedication to fair and honest journalism places him in grave danger should he be deported to El Salvador. Journalists like Mr. Duran have fallen victim to the growing violence toward journalists across El Salvador. While the country conditions worsen, your office can protect him and see, above all else, that those who face certain persecution in their home country will have the ability to remain safely within the United States until their lives are no longer in danger.
Mr. Duran’s co-counsel, Ms. Christina Swatzell, has informed me that Mr. Duran has filed an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals and that Mr. Duran remains detained at the Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center in Pine Prairie, LA. Ms. Swatzell is requesting that ICE exercise prosecutorial discretion in the case of Manuel Duran Ortega.
As a United States citizen, Memphis resident and a humanitarian I ask that you, Mr. Rivera, do the right thing and show Mr. Ortega, his family and the world that an exercise in mercy is one that is practiced in your office.