By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Filipino migrants groups both here and in the US are calling for the immediate release of Larry Nicolas, a Filipino who has a life-long mental condition and currently incarcerated in a private U.S. Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility.
In a statement, Migrante International said Nicolas, a Filipino, has been a legal and permanent resident in the US for 17 years. They said that Nicolas was secretly arrested and brought to a detention facility in August 2018.
“They should’ve let us know, so we’d know where to find our son. If he didn’t call, we wouldn’t know where to find him. They didn’t let us know. He has a family here. He has kids. He has parents.They should have let us know before they took him to a different city,” said Nicolas’ father, Nestor, in a statement.
Migrante International said Larry, who has been struggling with a life-long mental condition, was diagnosed with Schizophrenia while in jail and where he was able to access mental healthcare.
The Nicolas family said the deportation might be considered as a “death sentence considering the worsening crisis in the Philippines and the government’s indifference to Filipinos facing similar situations.”
Nicolas’ case may be considered as a “preview” of the impending massive arrests, detention, and deportation of immigrants in the US, following the anti-migrant policies of the Trump administration, said Migrante.
In 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte said he will not lift a finger to help those affected by Trump’s policy.
Arman Hernando, spokesperson of Migrante International, said, “Duterte is best at glorifying OFW contributions to the economy with US-based Filipinos as number 1 remittance contributor but completely disregards their welfare when they are besieged by harmful immigration policies.”