Washington cornerback Josh Norman and New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis helped pay the $50,000 bond for Jose Bello, who was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) two days after reading a poem that criticized the Trump administration and immigration policies at a public meeting.
"Jose Bello was exercising a fundamental right that we pride ourselves on as Americans," Norman said in a statement. "If he was detained for reciting a peaceful poem then we should really ask ourselves, are our words truly free? This is America right? Where the First Amendment is freedom of speech unless I missed the memo somewhere. He was exercising that right."
Bello, a 22-year-old college student who makes around $20,000 a year as a farmworker, was arrested May 15. His arrest came after reciting his own poem called "Dear America," which criticizes ICE, President Donald Trump and their current policies on immigration.
"In this month alone, we've seen ICE round up a 22-year old father, Jose, because he read a critical poem," Davis said. "We've seen ICE round up nearly 700 people in Mississippi and leave their children without parents, we've seen them turn away asylum seekers who will face certain death in their home countries. Is this America? We must say no, and we must start by helping our most vulnerable."
Bello is being represented by the United Farm Workers Foundation pro bono in his immigration case.
The New York Immigrant Freedom Fund and the National Bail Fund Network also contributed to Bello's bail. Norman and Davis are part of the Players Coalition, a group of NFL players who joined together to work with the league on social justice issues.