‘#FreedLuis’: Detained undocumented UC Berkeley student released on bond

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Campus junior Luis Mora was released Wednesday from Otay Mesa Detention Center after being held for more than two weeks by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Mora was granted a minimum bond of $1,500 after his hearing Wednesday morning according to a tweet from his attorney, Prerna Lal.

Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education, or RISE, a campus immigrant rights organization, spearheaded the #FreeLuis campaign to rally public support. The campaign also garnered the attention of several politicians, including U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris D-Calif, Dianne Feinstein D-Calif, and U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee D-Oakland, all of whom contacted ICE on Mora’s behalf.

“Thanks to the outpour of support from the community, Luis is set to be freed on bond today! It was your shares, tweets, and letters that made it possible for Luis to finally come back to his community,” RISE said in a Facebook post Wednesday.

Mora was detained Dec. 30 at a border checkpoint in San Diego, and after being held in border patrol custody for 90 hours, he was transferred to ICE custody. Mora’s U.S. visa expired two to three years ago and he currently has an AB 540 plan, which qualifies him for in-state tuition. Mora attempted to be a DACA student but was denied, according to his girlfriend Jaleen Udarbe.

UC President Janet Napolitano and Chancellor Carol Christ released a joint statement Wednesday reiterating their support for RISE and Mora, whom they do not name directly in the 200-word statement. The university said it will “continue to take every appropriate action” to support Mora and other community members similarly impacted.

“Our national interests are served by nurturing the talents of all members of our diverse community regardless of status,” said the statement. “To date Berkeley students — specifically, members of RISE — staff, and many others around the country have done remarkable work to secure the student’s freedom, and we support their efforts.”  

Christ’s initial statement, released Jan. 8, received backlash for coming a week after Mora’s detainment. RISE released a statement via Facebook on Jan. 9 that said Christ “neglected Luis Mora until enough media pressure forced her to address the issue” and added that Christ had yet to personally contact those involved in the campaign.

In RISE’s Facebook post Wednesday that announced Mora’s bond release, RISE introduced a new hashtag, #FreedLuis, and encouraged those who supported Mora to support the release of all undocumented individuals from detainment.

“We at RISE are ready to take on this xenophobic administration, but we need the support of all those who called for Luis, wrote for Luis, and donated for Luis.” RISE said in the post. “We need all those who learned the power of community for Luis to wield it to liberate all detained people!”

Francesca Munsayac is the lead race and diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @fcfm_dc.