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At a press conference on Tuesday Paul Frame, husband of Ivan Nuñez Martinez, talked about his husband's detention since Jan. 31, when he was arrested at what the couple thought would be a normal marriage interview at the USCIS office in Philadelphia. Photo: Emily Neil / AL DÍA News
At a press conference on Tuesday Paul Frame, husband of Ivan Nuñez Martinez, talked about his husband's detention since Jan. 31, when he was arrested at what the couple thought would be a normal marriage interview at the USCIS office in Philadelphia…

ACLU files complaint against detention of Ivan Nuñez Martinez

The habeas petition calls for Nuñez Martinez to be released and reunited with his husband while he fights his case in immigration court.

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At a press conference at the William Way LGBT Center on Tuesday, advocates announced that the ACLU of PA and the law firm of DLA Piper LLP have filed a legal complaint in federal district court against the unlawful detention of Jose “Ivan” Noe Nuñez Martinez, husband of U.S. citizen Paul Frame, who was arrested Jan. 31 during a routine interview at the USCIS office in Philadelphia.

“We’re hopeful that with public support and with the court’s attention...we can get a good outcome for Ivan,” said Golnaz Fakhimi, immigrant rights’ attorney with the ACLU of Pennsylvania, who explained that the petition for a writ of habeas corpus outlines why Nuñez Martinez’s detention is unlawful and calls for his immediate release or a bond hearing. 

“For someone like Ivan who came to the U.S. because he feared for his life in his home country, and for someone whose years in the United States have been leading a peaceful and productive life, there is simply no justification for why his detention is necessary,” Fakhimi said. 

Nuñez Martinez came to the U.S. 18 years ago, having suffered persecution as a gay man in his hometown of Michoacán, Mexico and living in fear after a gay friend of his was murdered. After his arrival in the U.S., he worked full-time at an auto body repair shop and married Paul Frame, a U.S. citizen, in April 2016. He was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the middle of what the couple thought would be a routine interview at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Philadelphia on Jan. 31 of this year for the Petition for Alien Relative that Frame had filed. 

“We went to the hearing, I thought we were going to be in and out in 20 minutes, we were going to have a nice lunch in Philly, go home. That was the end of the story. But that was not the case,” said Frame, who struggled to hold back tears while describing the isolation and uncertainty Nuñez Martinez is currently facing in detention at the York County Detention Center. 

Miguel Andrade, communications director for the immigrant rights organization JUNTOS, which has been advocating on behalf of Nuñez Martinez since bringing the case to public attention in February, said that Nuñez Martinez’s detention “shows us the lengths that immigration [enforcement] will go to tear apart families.” 

Representatives from Juntos, the immigrants rights organization, Galaei, a queer Latinx health and social justice organization, and the William Way LGBT Center all highlighted the need for public support for Nuñez’s case, and urged the public to call local ICE officials at 267-479-3696 to demand the release of Ivan Nuñez so that he can be reunited with his husband and family. 

Audrey Allen, Nuñez Martinez’s immigration counsel, said that the hope is that the federal filing will produce movement on the part of the immigration office. After filing a petition for parole with the Executive Office for Immigration Review in February, Allen said they have yet to receive any response, though since Nuñez Martinez’s arrest, USCIS has approved Frame’s petition and declared that Nuñez Martinez has credible fear of persecution if he were to be deported to Mexico. 

“This is an exemplary case of a man who is being detained really with absolutely no reason. He is a loving husband, he has [had] a steady job in the United States for the last 18 years, he is an upstanding member of his community,” said Allen.

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