(Luis, photographed in 2017, by Franco Vogt for Chronogram.)
Luis Martinez, a longtime member of the New Paltz community, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on January 16, and is being held at the Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen.
Luis’s friends and family will gather for support at La Charla, 127 Main St., New Paltz, Sunday, February 10, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Keep reading to learn more about Luis or skip down for ways to help.
In 2001 Luis founded a construction firm, Lalo Group. Over the years, the company has employed between 10 and 50 people, depending on workload, and is currently under contract to build a hotel and condo complex in New Paltz. Luis also financed his mother’s restaurant, La Charla, now run by his wife.
Luis Martinez came to the U.S. from Mexico at age three after the death of his father. His mother received amnesty and subsequently citizenship. Luis did not realize that his mother’s amnesty did not cover him until he tried to cross the border alone at age 18. He was detained and deported. His wife says he later reentered the U.S. legally.
How is he a threat to our community?
Many find Luis Martinez’s detention incomprehensible. New Paltz Town Board member Daniel Torres told HV1, “Unfortunately, yet again we are seeing an example of our broken immigration system.” This detention, he added, “serves no one” and sidelines a community member who “employs dozens” at two businesses.
How to help
Sign the petition created by Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson. It reads in part, “Like so many undocumented immigrants, Luis has tried over and over again to “lawfully” gain citizenship. Three years ago, he started an application for a U visa — granted to victims of certain crimes who cooperate with police. …. His pending U visa did not stop ICE agents from detaining him….”
Call or write Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Representative Antonio Delgado, Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Senator Jen Metzger, and State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. Call Ulster County legislator Tracy Bartels, 845-255-0804. Use the information above, the HV1 article by Terrance Ward, or details from this 2017 interview with Luis that appeared in Chronogram.
Websites for reaching officials mentioned above: