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 His work visa, which allowed him to legally gain employment in Washington, expired on an unpublished date.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.