By Liisa Wale
Arizona Community Press | www.azcommunitypress.org
With President Obama rapidly approaching having overseen 2 million deportations during his time in office, undocumented Arizonans, migrant families and workers have announced plans to “shut down” ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) through protest and peaceful civil disobedience.
People from around the country are joining Arizonans in Phoenix this weekend for a conference hosted by the #Not1More Deportation campaign, Puente Arizona and National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Those attending will “strategize and plan concrete steps to forge alternatives for relief, through education, local campaigns and direct action”. The conference will conclude on Monday, October 14th with the “shut down” of ICE in downtown Phoenix.
Alejandro, who has traveled from Knoxville, Tennessee for the conference and “shut down”, had this to say about why people should come to Phoenix.
Video by Puente Arizona.
Those facing immediate family separation feel they can no longer wait for Washington to take action. As Congress debates the immigration reform the raids and deportations in communities continue. “Until the President stops deportations, we will begin to stop them ourselves.”
Last year the immigrant youth and their supporters were successful in pushing the Obama administration to implement deferred action (DACA). Now the immigrant community is urging the President to expand the program to the rest of the undocumented population that equally deserves relief.
“I’m glad to have DACA,” says Natally Cruz of the Puente Movement. “but what about my parents and aunts and uncles? As long as the President is trying to reach his deportation quotas by taking away our family members, it’s as if we’re all still in the crosshairs.”
On Tuesday night in Tucson three people were detained after a routine traffic stop and have been placed in deportation proceedings. Agustin Ramon Reyes Sepulveda and Arturo Robles Urea were pulled over for a non-working headlight. Those community members that witnessed the traffic stop saw that the two were being detained by Border Patrol and decided to step in. Arizona Daily Star reported “Dozens of protesters tried to use their bodies as shields to prevent the detention of three suspected illegal immigrants stopped in front of Southside Presbyterian Church Tuesday night”. Rosa Maria, the wife of Eleazar Castellanos, a well-known day laborer and organizer who participated in last year’s national ‘No Papers No Fear’ Ride for Justice, was part of the crowd assembled. She was also arrested. All three people are organizers and volunteers with the community organization Corazón de Tucson. They are currently being held at Eloy Detention Center.
“Under the President’s administration, nearly two million families have been torn apart through detention and deportation,” explains Marisa Franco of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “Our communities can no longer wait for the President to rediscover his moral compass or for Congress to actually do its job. We will do what any mother or father would do and keep our families together by preventing ICE from being able to tear them apart.”
**Feature photo taken at August action when dreamers blocked a deportation bus from leaving the ICE building in downtown Phoenix.