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Celebrate! Elias's Bond Has Been Paid!


Friends, family, and fellow members of the movement,

We did it! Elias will be free from immigration detention after 6 months of incarceration. We are proud of our work but even more, we are proud of Elias and his perseverance in the face of vast injustice.

If you have been following Elias’s story you know that he was wrongfully arrested and incarcerated based on racial profiling and upon being cleared of all charges, he was released directly into ICE custody. He was then brought into detention at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Complex, a private prison run by CoreCivic. ICE’s contract with the facility has since expired and terminated.

Although this means that our services and efforts are now somewhat more fragmented and distanced from those who need it—as detainees have been shuffled around to different facilities in the region—we see this as a HUGE victory. Youngstown is one less community in which our friends and neighbors can be detained and that is something to celebrate!

We have spoken to Elias almost every day for the past month reassuring him that we were working and fighting for him here outside of detention and listening to his growing concerns as the time crept on. With the news of this expired contract, detainees have seen mass movement from the Youngstown facility to different facilities in the surrounding area, which has left Elias reeling. We are happy to say that we were able to intervene with this bond payment before Elias had to be moved even further away from his communities in Massillon, Ohio (where he lived before) and New Philly, Ohio (where he and his girlfriend will live after his release).

Elias’s girlfriend, Tabatha has also been speaking with us throughout and expressing the gratitude that she and Elias share for the generosity of those who donated.

This success was made possible because people like yourselves have
- shared the Free Elias fundraiser 124 times
- invited over 6500 friends to join the Free Elias fundraiser
- donated to the Free Elias fundraiser with a total of 173 individual donations, averaging $43 each

We are also immensely grateful for the support we have found in our friends and partners in the immigrant defense community including
AMIS – Americans Making Immigrants Safe
Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network
Immigration Working Group CLE
LOIRA -- Lorain Ohio Immigrant Rights Association

If you have not yet donated, and you would still like to, we would gladly accept. The fundraiser page is still up and active and accepting donations. The reason for this is firstly because IRTF did end up fronting a bit of the cost, any amount over our total will be used in future cases, and because we are expecting traffic from a couple of news articles and we want their readers to have somewhere to go when directed!

Again, we are so grateful to all those who contributed to this campaign and we are so humbled and grateful that Elias trusted us with his story.

Libertad para todos,

IRTF Staff
Chrissy Stonebraker-Martinez, co-director
Brian Steffan-Szittai, co-director
Marc Alvarado, volunteer associate
Quinlan Galvin, volunteer associate
Paul Schmitt, volunteer associate, ARSP volunteer corps