In a Tuesday morning news conference, supporters and advocates said the death of Selena Hidalgo-Calderón could have been prevented.
With her daughter Selena dead, and her 14-month-old grandson Owen still missing and presumed dead, Estela Calderon, Selena’s mother, wasn’t up to speaking, but had this statement read on her behalf.
“It has been extremely hard, I have my heart in pieces, for what was done to my daughter.”
Her daughter’s death has brought out community support, but also, Estela wrote, lots of anti-immigrant sentiment, since the only arrest made in connection to this case has been that of Selena’s boyfriend, a twice-deported, illegal immigrant from Mexico.
“Immigrants are not evil, we come here to find work, we come because we are running from problems in our own country like poverty and violence.”
The stigma of illegal immigration she feels, may have contributed to her daughter Selena deciding not to seek help from law enforcement for an allegedly abusive relationship, for fear of being turned over to immigration.
“No woman should let herself be humiliated or stay quiet if they’re abused it’s hard to think my daughter was so full of life and that life was taken away from her.”
Selena was reported missing last month along with her 14-month-old son Owen. Selena’s body was found days later in a wooded area off Joy Road in Sodus. We’re told she had been left wrapped in a plastic bag. Baby Owen still has not been found.
Selena’s boyfriend Alberto Reyes is facing charges in the case for hiding her body, but hasn’t been charged with her death.
Speaking Tuesday, advocates from The Worker Justice Center of New York said the sheriff’s office was still waiting on a medical examiner’s report before bringing any further charges against Reyes. But, at the same time, they say better immigration laws could have made a difference in this case.
“Unfortunately, violence has no borders and is everywhere, and our friends are the victims of violence,” said Rebecca Fuentes, The Worker Center.
Advocates say current immigration law and policy disincentivizes undocumented workers from contacting police.
Advocates say Selena tried to seek help and move out of Reyes’ home, but it never happened.
“To honor Selena, I think we need to talk about what it is to have communities of immigrants who are living in shadows, but at the same time are contributing so much,” said Carly Fox, The Workers Center.
The group is calling for reform to immigration laws. They says there needs to be a better system to allow immigrants to come to the U.S. to work.
Monday, Reyes appeared in court to answer immigration charges. Again, at this time, he hasn’t been charged with Selena’s death, only tampering with evidence. As for her son, Owen remains missing; crews wrapped up a search at the farm off Joy Road on Sunday.