This man spent 130,000 bailing suspected illegal immigrants out after a raid in Massachusetts. A lot of people are giving him slack but I think what he did was very upstanding. Most people do not realize when they show up for court they get the bail money back with interest. He was depending on these people showing up to court and he wanted them to have their day in court. My husband and I have been trying to get a court date with immigration court so basically he has to turn himself in. We actually walked into immigration and customs and they did not want to take him. They have too much, they don't have time to deal with this. Our attorney said he could be an illegal who murdered people and they would tell him to go away. Luckily we have a persistent attorney who got us a court date without them detaining my husband. In our case when we go to court he wil be granted a work permit and SS# since he has been in the country over 10 years and married to a U.S. Citizen and in about a year he will have to go back to Mexico for his Visa and he may be there for 3 months to a year before he can come back to us but for those who do not meet this requirement they are deported. If you are detained and do not post bail, you are just deported even if you have family that are citizens. He said some of these people have been deported but at least they got their day in court and that is what he wanted for them.
The factory raid last March was one of the largest in the nation in recent years. A total of 361 people were arrested. Some were detained on the East Coast, but most were dispatched to Texas, home to particularly tough immigration judges.
The factory's former owner, Francesco Insolia, was arraigned in August in federal district court in Boston on charges of harboring and recruiting illegal immigrants. Efforts to reach Mr. Insolia's lawyers were unsuccessful yesterday. The factory is now under new ownership.
Associated Press/File Maria Escotto shares a moment with her daughter at Our Lady of Guadalupe church on March, 9, 2007. She was detained in the immigration raid on the Michael Bianco factory on March 6.
Images of shackled prisoners stumbling as they boarded a plane for Texas are what spurred Mr. Hildreth to call Greater Boston Legal Services, a nonprofit group coordinating a legal response to the raid. "I told them to contact me if they had some bonds that needed to be paid," he recalls.
Nancy Kelly, an attorney at the group, says: "It was almost too good to be true."
Mr. Hildreth agreed to help individuals post bail if they or their families would also put up a significant chunk of money. The legal-aid group, GBLS, would email Mr. Hildreth with individual requests. He would then wire the money back to the lawyers.
Last May 3, for example, GBLS attorney John Willshire-Carrera sent Mr. Hildreth an email that read: "Bob, we have two more for tomorrow, if possible....Bond set at 5,000, family is paying 2,500. Bond set at 7,500, family is paying 2,000."
The following morning, Mr. Hildreth emailed his response: "8k sent."
Mr. Hildreth says the $200,000 tab "ended up being much more than I thought it would be."
Typically in cases like these, bail is set somewhere between $1,500 to $7,000, although the number can be much higher. For instance, bail for one detainee, Luis Lopez, was set at $28,000 by a judge who is known for particularly high figures.
"It took me a little while to get my mind around that one," says Mr. Hildreth, who contributed $23,000. Mr. Lopez's family paid $5,000.
At an event earlier this month in New Bedford to mark the anniversary of the factory raid, hundreds of immigrant families gathered to offer support. Many are Guatemalans of Mayan descent; party-goers sipped cups of hot milk and rice, a traditional Mayan drink.
"What's this?" asked Mr. Hildreth when someone handed him a cup.