TFW your sense of joy and relief were 8 years in the making!  

In 2016, Alex fled Venezuela with his girlfriend to escape death threats from a government official who had already detained and assaulted him once. 

They lived in Ecuador for seven years, but never felt truly safe there. The security situation became so bad by 2023, they headed north to seek safety in the U.S. 

Alex’s girlfriend was paroled into the country at the border, but he was taken to ICE detention. Alex had tattoos to commemorate his child’s birth. An image of a clock because the child was born premature, and the image of a beach, because the labor occurred while he and his son’s mother were on an island. 

ICE interpreted these as potential gang tattoos. Thankfully, Alex had an attorney who could clarify these things. Camilo Rodriguez, from the Florence Project’s Detention Action and Response Team, worked with Alex to present his complete persecution narrative, including evidence that he was not a part of a gang, and requested Alex’s release from detention. 

After many court filings, Alex was indeed granted parole and the case was dismissed!  

“When the judge said I was going to be released, I cried of the excitement because I would finally leave detention and reunite with my girlfriend. For my family, too, it was such wonderful news. I’m giving thanks first to God and second to Camilo, who always helped me.” 

Alex can now apply for temporary protected status (TPS), which the Florence Project also helped with.  

“Camilo was wonderful. He was always attentive of me. I couldn’t have done this without an attorney,” Alex added.

He now lives in North Carolina, where he has family and friends. The first photo shows Alex happily reunited with his girlfriend, and he also sent us the photo of him with his best friend and the man’s son, who is Alex’s godson. We are thrilled for them!