Keep Claudia Home

Keep Claudia Home

From Michele McGinnis

I am raising money to help my friend Claudia with living & legal expenses while she awaits a ruling on her legal status in the US.

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Update #1

4 months ago

Claudia learned on December 1 that the Feds appealed her release. Now she will have another court appearance sometime in 2019 to defend herself again. Until then, she cannot work or receive her driver's license back. She is trying to figure out how to feed and support her children. They are trying to starve her out. We are not going to let them.

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“There are people who are so integral to the tapestry of Yakima that without them, this City that I have come to call home is a lesser place. Claudia is such a person.”

My friend Claudia came to the United States as a single parent to make a better life for her infant daughter. Over 15 years, she created a beautiful life for her two children as a certified yoga teacher and licensed massage therapist. In March, she was arrested for being here illegally and detained at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) for seven months. She was ordered released by a Federal judge on November 1 and is in limbo, while she waits to see if the Federal government will appeal. If they don’t appeal, she’ll begin the long road to Citizenship. If they appeal, she’ll be in limbo for another year. Either way, she was stripped of her drivers license, lost her massage license, is not allowed to work, and is forced to find a new rental. And still, when her former NWDC roommate Juanita, who is seeking asylum from forced slavery, was released with nowhere to go and in need of surgery, Claudia took her in.

While Claudia was in detention, she started teaching yoga and meditation (on the bare floor) to the other ladies. When it came to the attention of the Mental Health manager, they asked Claudia to help develop a yoga program and the Warden assigned a yoga mat to every bed in the Center! And in case you didn’t know, back in 2014, Claudia was responsible for bringing the first free Bilingual classes to the Yoga Collective of Yakima (YOCO). Being able to offer these classes has been YOCO’s greatest accomplishment and we could not have done it without Claudia’s leadership and dedication. Claudia’s life is driven by the desire to help people find balance and love in their lives through the practice of meditation, yoga, and other healing arts. She has given selflessly in this pursuit. 

The quote at the top of this letter is from me to the judge in her case. That is the kind of person Claudia is and she needs our support to get back on her feet and continue to work her way towards citizenship.

“I am so happy and I feel like I am the most blessed woman in this place….I am grateful to this country that gave me a good life for the past 15 years for me and for my kids.” Claudia, from a letter sent from NWDC.

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Michele McGinnis posted a new update:
4 months ago

Update #1

Claudia learned on December 1 that the Feds appealed her release. Now she will have another court appearance sometime in 2019 to defend herself again. Until then, she cannot work or receive her driver's license back. She is trying to figure out how to feed and support her children. They are trying to starve her out. We are not going to let them.

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