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Dallas ICE refuses to help abandoned child in El Salvador

Isenberg Center for Immigration Empwerment
Isenberg Center for Immigration Empwerment
Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment/

The rescue of an endangered 10 year old boy in El Salvador by Dallas area immigration group ended after the Dallas office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) refused to cooperate with them . On Friday, January 17, Dallas ICE Field Director Simona Flores ordered all communications with the Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment (ICIE) to end. Ralph Isenberg, the founder of ICIE, had been working with ICE agents on an emergency plan of action to rescue the young homeless boy.

The circumstances of how the boy became homeless and separated from his immediate family in America are remaining confidential at this time. This is both for security reasons, and to protect the family from additional emotional distress.

“In my opinion, we were one signature away from reuniting the family and removing this child from harm's way,” said Isenberg, who was planning on flying himself and/or with the boy’s father to El Salvador immediately after receiving the needed signature from ICE. Isenberg had secured the necessary travel documents from government officials in El Salvador to reunite the family. There had been direct communication and cooperation between both ICE and ICIE until ICIE staff member Mery Blanco received a phone call from Dallas ICE informing her that ICE Director Flores had put the brakes on the rescue plans, and they could no longer help with the case.

“I consider the situation critical given the extreme danger this young boy is currently experiencing,” Isenberg said. “The position of Flores is indefensible, in that her actions not only violate current DHS/ ICE policy towards children, but also violate international agreements regarding children with a host of international organizations including the Organization of American States and the United Nations.”

United States Immigration Policy dating back to 1952 permits the government to immediately act and take appropriate actions when it can be shown there is a case of extreme family separation and a foreign national has an immediate relative that is a United States citizen. Both situations apply to this case. “This matter cannot be any more obvious and Field Director Flores needs to be investigated immediately,” says Isenberg, who points to a long-running feud between his organization and Dallas ICE as the primary reason Flores is being so uncooperative.

“We deal with ICE offices all across the country, and no office conducts itself the way Dallas does. It would seem Field Director Flores would rather risk the life of this young man over this dispute. I find her attitude heartless, reckless and childish to name a few adjectives,” Isenberg concludes. The family includes both parents, a sister (age 13), and two younger brothers, who are United States citizens.

The Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment is "a resort of last hope,” and people come to ICIE because the system has failed, and as a result, someone is facing a wrongful deportation. Since their founding in 2011, ICIE has helped hundreds of deserving families, and provides all services pro-bono. The organization deals with the entire family unit, from teaching the basic fundamentals behind community service, to English education, to individualized counseling to build positive mental health.

To learn more about the Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment, click right here.

Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at Click here to receive a weekly email update from To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE link here or at the top of this page.

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