Well Known DC Bartender/Mixologist JP Caceres Faces Deportation

by Prince Of Petworth January 15, 2014 at 11:45 am 39 Comments


From Operation Free JP:

“We are writing this on behalf of JP. As some of you may know, but most of you probably don’t, JP has been struggling with immigration issues for almost 13 years. JP was born in Bolivia and came to the United States in 2001. He arrived in the country and began to work legally on a work visa. His work visa subsequently expired, and he has been attempting to obtain US citizenship since 2010. He is not a legal US citizen. No matter your views on our country’s immigration policy, we have created this page because we know your views on JP. JP is a fixture and a highlight on the Washington, DC social scene. His smile lights up a room, his laugh fills the entire building, and his unparalleled cocktails set the night on fire. As his friends and family, we are soliciting your help to “free JP.”

JP is currently being held in a United States Immigration detention center in Farmville, VA and has been there since December, 19th. He is set to be deported within the next 3 to 6 weeks. Our mission in sharing his story is to help offset his legal fees. He will need over $7,500 at a minimum to get in front of a judge and potentially prevent his deportation. Since he has been detained for nearly a month now, his ability to work and earn a living has been severely compromised. We know JP has probably been there for you at some point, and now here is your chance to be there for him. No matter what your wallet can afford, no amount is too small. Every bit counts.

All donated funds will be withdrawn as a check made out directly to his attorney. Please help in anyway you can.

-Friends and Family of JP”

  • JP is one of the most charismatic bartenders I’ve ever had the pleasure of receiving a drink from, a true delight every time I’ve encountered him behind the bar or at other social functions. This is a real shame.

    • BTW, it’s great to see they’ve already well exceeded the goal.

    • Anonymous

      What bar?

  • Idaho Ave

    Borders are made by masters who lust for power and control to benefit the ruling class. I’m glad to see the goal has already been reached!!!

  • eak

    His work visa expired and he didn’t leave. Even if he applied for citizenship, this doesn’t mean you can illegally overstay your visa. A serious bad call on his part, even if he did manage to overcome INA 214(b) during his visa interview.

    If he didn’t illegally overstay his visa, then what is this about?

    • power of flight

      Exactly. This is the United States. If we didn’t value unerring adherence to written law we’d have like three entire branches of government to complicate the justice system.

    • theheights

      On a personal level, I feel bad for this guy. But from a legal perspective, his flouting of U.S. immigration law (as flawed as they are) finally caught up to him. I hope he can come back to the U. S. legally and tend bar again.

      • Anonymous

        I agree; it’s sad that he has to leave what has become his home, but it’s not a surprise, and it’s not a tragedy. We have so many immigrants of all legal statuses here who face persecution and even death if they are forced to return to their country of origin. I’m saving my activist energy for them.

        • theheights

          Yeah. This appeal seems a bit lightweight and glosses over some very pertinent issues. But I’d still rather see a seemingly earnest immigrant allowed to stay and contribute to our country rather than face deportation.

        • “I’m saving my activist energy for them.”

          What exactly do you do to help those you mentioned?

          • Anonymous

            I use my second language to help with status renewals and other documents. I drive/ accompany folks to ICE and DHS interviews. I sit with them in court, explain what’s going on and hold their hands while their fate is being decided (though I’m not usually allowed to interpret, as they have a court-appointed interpreter on site).
            With a full time job and two small kids, I can only manage about 5-8 hours a month. But there’s a need for so much more…

          • That’s pretty awesome then, well done.

          • Anonymous

            You thought you were setting up a “gotcha”, didn’t you? Let go of the cynicism, justin.

          • Not exactly. I’m quite pleased to see there are folks who not only talk the talk but walk it too.

    • mdd

      I agree with EAK. If he came here on a work visa, they are legal for a maximum of 5 years, meaning that in 2006, he fell out of status. If he didn’t start addressing his legal issues until 2010, just what status was he in during those 4 years? Clearly there is much more to the story than we are being told, so it’s hard to say where the truth lies here. But it’s clear that he has been out of status for close to 8 years. Shame on any employer who hired someone without the legal right to work.

      • Anonymous

        On that note, won’t publicizing his case get everyone who employed him in potential trouble with the law? Seems very selfish on the part of his “friends and family”.

        • Anonymous

          wait wait – are you talking about the service industry hiring folks with a questionable immigration status? yea, nobody knows anything about this AT ALL. You realize that a major reason behind the big push for immigration reform is the tacit understanding that MANY industries rely on the cheap labor supplied by such immigrants, right?

          • Anonymous

            OMG NO WAY!
            Putting JP’s story out there, in writing, puts a target on his employers. Makes them low-hanging fruit. You think that immigrations enforcement doesn’t have quotas to meet? No investigation needed here. The case has been gift wrapped and delivered.

    • Lonnie B

      If he overstayed his visa for longer than one year, he will be banned from re-entering the US for 10 years. That’s been the law since 1996.

      • Anonymous

        Yup, he’s f#cked.
        Happened to my good friend from Turkey. She left here in 2004 and got the 10 year ban hammer lowered on her. This summer, she’s allowed back in the U.S. It will be great to see her :-D

        • RL

          Don’t get too excited yet. Her ten-year ban on entry may be expiring, but that doesn’t automatically mean she can return. She will still need a visa (I presume), and it is far from guaranteed she will get one, especially right away. Even with a visa, it’s up to CBP to decide if she can enter.

          • Anonymous

            Although CBP doesn’t adhere to the law like other agencies, I doubt they’re going to stop someone coming in based solely on an overstay. They have bigger fish to fry.

      • Loganite

        There is actually a 3 and 5 year bar I believe. Depends on the circumstances surrounding his deportation.

        I’m curious if he had the option of voluntary departure, whereby he avoids a court ordered removal and the bar does not apply. If so, and he chose not to take it, then the bar would apply if he ends up being deported.

        • immigration lawyer

          There is a 3 year bar for overstays of more than 180 days, but less than 1 year. There is a 10 year bar for overstays of more than 1 year.

  • Anon

    Please excuse my ignorance. Who is this guy?

    • He’s worked all over the city at various bars, but most recently wrote the cocktail list for Del Campo.

  • andy2

    Sorry he faces deportation but having lived abroad and paid (or had parents when I was a dependent) requisite fees and adhered to law I don’t feel much sympathy based on this brief description of events. My sister just had to pay $10K in legal and visa fees to become a permanent resident in the UK – including coming to the US to have the documents processed here.

    Now, I do understand there is likely more to this story – so do reserve sympathy for the confusion of the system and if anything went foul that was not the fault of JP.

  • Anony

    Oops, hit post too soon….I feel bad for the guy BUT he CHOSE to stay illegally and also shame on the businesses for employing him illegally. It would be interesting to know where he worked. I hope he is able to find a legal way back into the country.

  • Cry me a river

    And can we drop the term mixologist from the lexicon pls?

    • Anonymous

      i call them bartenders. i’m hoping it will catch on.

    • +1

  • Anonymous1234

    It’s such a shame that we have a system that deports the people like JP who are actively trying to become citizens and are part of the fabric of their communities. It encourages people to stay off the radar rather than do the right thing. Regarding the comment that his friends and family are selfish for publicizing his case– I’m sure immigration enforcement was already well aware of where he worked if he was applying for citizenship.

    • anon3

      bahahahahaha – i like your optimism but i wouldn’t be surprised if, in most scenarios, these agencies don’t share information.

    • eak

      “who are actively trying to become citizens”

      You don’t’ do that by illegally overstaying your visa.

  • Loganite

    I’m also a bit confused at the statement that he needs money to appear before an immigration judge. All people facing deportation can have a hearing before an immigration judge prior to deportation as a matter of policy. I assume this is a little hyperbole to note that he can have a successful appearance before an immigration judge with that money. There are a plethora of pro bono organizations that assist people with these issues and plenty of good attorneys who offer pro bono services to assist with these issues. The family and friends should look into that and not depend solely on donations.

    I also thought they had closed this facility in Farmville due to some unfortunate incidents involving detainees failing to receive proper medical treatment??

  • W. Bush

    Sounds like a bad investment to me. He is getting a one way flight to the jungle no matter what. More importantly, who set up this fund? Where is this money going? Someone is going to be pocketing this cash and it won’t be JP…..

    • Anonymous

      +1. I’m ALL for helping this guy out, but it seems to be too little too late at this point in time. Glad the lawyer’s gonna get paid though? That’s good, right?

  • Q-Street

    My experience with immigration/deportation cases is that they are pretty cut and dry. There are a lot of good immigration lawyers out there, but there are some who are happy to take your money even when there is no hope.

    I am friends with a British couple who were deported after going back to the UK to care for a sick parent. They broke their continuous residency requirements, and subsequently were forced to leave the country for a period of time before returning and starting at square one. They threw $25k at a few lawyers trying to fight it, and got their Congressman involved on their behalf but it was a fruitless effort. It was heartbreaking for everyone.

    So my question is, what is the legal basis for Mr. Caceres to stay in the US? It sounds like he’s a great person to support, but unless there is a real legal argument here I’d just be padding his lawyer’s bankroll, which is less compelling.

  • Ahole

    I will donate another $500ish just for the heck of it….. #freejp


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