main entrance to the Osher Marin JCC
The campus that houses the Osher Marin JCC and Congregation Rodef Sholom was the target of multiple bomb threats. (Photo/file)

Marin congregation rallies around man facing deportation

Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael and other Marin County community groups are joining with U.S. Representative Jared Huffman to seek a court hearing for Hugo Mejia, who faces deportation after being detained last week by federal immigration officers.

Hugo Mejia smiling with a woman
Hugo Mejia (right)

Mejia, a native of Mexico who is a longtime Marin County resident, is being held at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Elk Grove, near Sacramento. Supporters say he has no criminal record.

When Rodef Sholom Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown visited him there on May 8, five days after he was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, he was wearing a green Immigration and Customs Enforcement jumpsuit that distinguished him from the orange-clad members of the general prison population.

“It was just so clear that he didn’t belong there at all, he has never been involved in any criminal activity in his life,” Rosen-Brown said in an interview. “He shared with me that this experience is a complete 180 from his day-to-day life as a devoted husband, father, family man, community member and loyal employee.”

Mejia, a construction worker, has three children. The oldest, who is in 11th grade, has volunteered helping with homeless families at Rodef Sholom.

Mejia was taken into custody on May 3 when he reported to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield to start a new assignment. After showing his California driver’s license to gain admittance to the base, he was taken aside by military officials and then turned over to ICE.

Supporters are asking that Mejia, who is undocumented, not be deported and be given a chance to appear at a court hearing. Huffman is scheduled to speak at a rally to support Mejia set for 5 p.m., May 15 in the courtyard at Rodef Sholom.

Jessica Marker of the Venetia Valley School Family Center said Mejia had a removal order put on his file by an immigration officer several years ago, and that ICE must decide now whether to deport him or grant him a hearing.

“Hugo is a totally upstanding member of this community,” Marker said. “What we are asking ICE to do is please give him his day in court.”

Rob Gloster

Rob Gloster z"l was J.'s senior writer from 2016-2019.