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DC Bartender JP Caceres Facing Possible Deportation
The industry rallies around one of their beloved barkeeps, who is being held in the Farmville Detention Center. By Anna Spiegel
Bolivia-born barkeep JP Caceres faces deportation, while supporters try to rapidly raise legal funds. Photograph by Erik Uecke.
Comments () | Published January 15, 2014

Popular DC bartender JP Caceres is being held in Virginia’s Farmville Detention Center, according to a crowdfunding site set up to raise money for his legal fees. The Bolivia-born Caceres most recently mixed drinks at MXDC, and has been a well-known, mustachioed face behind the bar at spots such as Againn. He also founded his own cocktail consulting business, Let’s Imbibe Beverage Consulting.

According to the site, Operation Free JP, Caceres has been held in the center for non-criminal immigration detainees since December 19. He may be deported in three to six weeks. Caceres first came to Washington in the early 2000s, and got his start in the industry as a busboy at Jaleo. He then worked his way up through the ranks at José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup, working as a barback and service bartender at Zaytinya. The Go Fund Me site says he’s been “struggling with immigration issues for almost 13 years,” and has been attempting to gain citizenship since 2010. His work visa, which allowed him to legally gain employment in Washington, expired on an unpublished date.

Numerous donors have contributed to the campaign, whose $7,500 goal has already been surpassed (at the time of this post, donations totaled $11,844). People both inside and outside the industry have sent messages of support across social media. The hope is that continued contributions will allow Caceres to hire a lawyer and potentially prevent deportation.

“No matter your views on our country’s immigration policy, we have created this page because we know your views on JP,” says the site. “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.’”

Stay tuned for details as they develop.

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  • dcizscumm

    let gang bangers stay pay their legal fees send them to colleg but deport a nice guy...I hate DC!!!

  • Janya Orfeyeva

    Oh and as for the guys complaining about WaPO "wasting coverage" on this. Considering how many immigrants live in the area and staff the area's restaurants, and the way the city is proud of it's restaurants and their staff, the coverage is VERY fitting. Not EVERY single article has to be relevant to every single person. That in fact would be impossible. But given the population demographics of immigrant % and the number of people in the city employed in the restaurant industry, you're a wee bit off in your calculations of what is "important" or "relevant."

  • ayplease

    can't Jose Andres SPONSOR HIM??

  • Janya Orfeyeva

    They probably could have prior to the violations. I'm curious as to why he did not appeal the ruling. Assuming the officials even bothered to look up the correct address to send the notices to.
    For those that are shouting rules are rules, have you ever had to go out and spend 10k on a lawyer just to be able to wade through all those rules and get all your i's dotted and t's crossed? You have NO idea what its like to get through it. Speaking as some one who came here legally and went through the WHOLE process, took almost 8 years by the way and 2 lawyers. One forgot to file a piece of paper half way through, had to start at square one.....Think of your worst day at the DMV and multiply 50 times and stretch out over several years, add in lawyer fees, and oh by the way, you can still get denied without ANY explanation at the end..
    JP was a great guy, he made his mistakes just like we all did, but the contributions he made far outweigh the detractions. I worked with him for some time, one of the best bartenders I ever met (and I have 16 years in the business), and a great guy, the type that would pull over in a rain storm at night to help you if you had car trouble. Though I can't speak for the details or his scuffle.... He certainly wasn't milking the system or taking advantage, worked his way up. He should be given a chance if he pays the penalty. Let's not forget folks, you happened to be born in the country by PURE chance. So lets not get all high and mighty like you went through some horrendous process to be here or really did anything to earn being here. If anything now might be a good moment to be greatful that you were born here. Because lets face it, most you have NO idea what this process entails legally, not a freaking clue. Not to mention how incredibly intimidating it is to some one just grasping the language and culture and education beyond 6th grade, who is probably from a country where authority of any kind, especially in uniform is to be run from and not trusted because they are out to harm or rob you. In a lot of places around the world police and military are NOT figures of safety like they are here.
    Yes, the rules need to apply, but the severity of the punishment is often offset by the positive impact the person has made. That is true for ANY rulebreaking or criminal punishment I this country. Jeez people get a little perspective. Not everything, is just so black and white. I'm glad the guy is getting help with his legal fees. That says something.... I'm sure there a lot of people born in this country that, if something bad happened to them, or they broke some laws, no one would donate a $1 to their aide. And that's saying something.

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Posted at 12:56 PM/ET, 01/15/2014 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs