Public Employee Press
By RUDY OROZCO
Local 983 Parks worker to stay in the U.S.
After a long struggle, Local 983 Associate Parks Service Worker Jose Molina will stay in the country that has been his home for nearly all of his life.
On Sept, 11, Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. issued a ruling in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn resentencing him as a youthful offender.
This allows Molina to remain in the United States, where he has lived since arriving as an infant from his native Panama nearly four decades ago.
His conviction had been vacated by the judge in early August.
Molina, who is married and a father of two, is a legal U.S. resident who was arrested at 18 for a felony assault after an altercation with someone who had a reputation for being armed. Molina served 2 1/2 years of a five-year prison sentence before the state released him at age 22.
“I am relieved to finally know that I can now stay in the only home that I have ever known, New York City,” said Molina. “Now my family and I can look forward to a much brighter future which includes more career opportunities at the Parks Dept. and putting my kids through college.”
“We were thrilled to see justice in action for Jose and his family,” said Jessica Swensen, one of the attorneys who worked on the case and is with the Bronx Defenders, a non-profit legal services organization. “This the culmination of four years of tireless advocacy by Jose and his entire team of lawyers and advocates.”
The union was active in fighting against Molina’s deportation. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, Local 983 President Joe Puleo, the local’s executive board members, and other union members wrote letters of support, while the DC 37 Political Action Dept. lobbied city elected officials.
“Jose has won his fight to remain and, like so many other hard-working immigrants, to stay here and continue his positive contributions to our city as a dedicated public servant,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido.
“Jose exemplifies the members in our union and the kind of family man that makes up our communities,” said Local 983 President Joe Puleo. “When we found out about his plight, we pulled no punches in our efforts to keep Jose in the only home that he has ever known, and we succeeded.
Molina has been with the Dept. of Parks and Recreation since 2007. In 2015, he became an Associate Parks Service Worker.