- Photo: Franco Vogt 2017
- Luis Martinez
In the September 2017 issue of Chronogram, we profiled New Paltz developer Luis Martinez. Franco Vogt, a frequent contributor, was assigned to shoot a portrait. "During the shoot, Martinez told me how he went from working on a construction crew to managing the crew and then, eventually, to starting his own business," says Vogt. "I remember leaving and thinking, man if you work your ass off and you are diligent, there is opportunity in this country. This guy just proved it. He was totally the embodiment of the American dream!"
At the time of that writing, the big-thinking businessman was working on two local projects. One was a $50-million hotel/residential/retail development in the village of New Paltz that was a real long shot given the community's careful stewardship of what it allows to be built within its borders. That project never overcame the opposition it faced.
Construction just began on the second, Zero Place, a high-tech geothermal and solar-powered multi-use complex. Zero Place will be built without Martinez, however, as on the morning of January 16, he was arrested by ICE agents outside his office.
Martinez, an undocumented immigrant who's lived in the US since the age of eight, has been confined in an ICE facility in Goshen ever since. This month, we tell Martinez's story—at least as much of it as we know, as we were not permitted by ICE to interview him in detention—a story that's emblematic of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country. In "Undocumented in the Hudson Valley," a collaboration with The River, Michael Frank investigates how Martinez might have come under ICE's scrutiny, ICE's ramped-up activity in the Hudson Valley, and the ways communities are responding to this spike in detentions and deportations by rallying around their embattled residents.