#Not1More Deportation

Breaking: New Jersey Action Shutting Down Obama’s Deportation Quota

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Elizabeth, NJ – December 10th, 2013
During the week that Congress will close for 2013 without having passed an immigration reform bill, a group of Jersey residents locked themselves together in the street that serves as an entrance to the Elizabeth Detention Center (625 Evans St.) to protest the President’s deportation arbitrary quota policy and call on him to stop removals and expand deferred action instead.

“We can’t let more families to be separated. We can’t wait for Congress. After what I saw my family go through I want to help other families that are in the same situation,” explains Rosa Santana, who migrated to the US after Hurricane Mitch hit her home country of Honduras and who’s aunt and uncle were deported.

The action is the latest in a series of civil disobediences that have exposed the harm caused by current immigration policy and urged the President to act.  In the midst of a pending snowstorm and on International Human Rights Day, they say they want to bring visibility to those in the Detention Center and to the people suffering from current policies like the Secure Communities deportation program.
Without further executive action, the President will hit the record of 2,000,000 people deported in the near future. But participants say there is still time for Obama to turn his policies around.
“We’re doing everything in our power to stop deportations,” says Carlos Canales of Casa Freehold. “We’re out here in the cold hoping I that President Obama’s heart softens, and understands that immigrants are here to work and help our families.”
Daniel Goldstein is a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University and is a volunteer on the board of Casa Freehold, a day laborer rights organization in Freehold, New Jersey. As he did research about how day laborer fight for their rights and got to know the situation of immigrants in the United States, he saw a need to get involved to change that situation. He explains, "There is too much injustice, inequality, violence and separation of families. And I had to do something." Over the last 2 and a half years he has lived and worked in Freehold, he has seen many people who have been detained, threatened with deportation, and broken up families.
Ilana Rossoff is a community organizer from Morristown, NJ. Since graduating from college in 2011 she works as a childcare worker and volunteers with Wind of the Spirit, where she has learned from the immigrant community in New Jersey. She explains that she is participating in this action to stop deportations, because "I am devastated by each and every story of another family being torn apart by our arbitrary and inhuman detention and deportation policies. There's no excuse for continuing to deport people, especially while we wait for Congress to take action and pass just and genuine immigration reform."
Diana Mejia came to the United States in 1991 as an undocumented immigrant. She is an organizer and immigrant rights organizer with Wind of the Spirit, working towards dignity for all communities. Although he has since become a citizen, there are undocumented people in her family. She says her daughter wakes up at night asking her parents about their citizenship status, worried that they may be deported. She is participating in this action for her children, her family, and because she believes that "We are all brothers and sisters, children of god and deserve to live with dignity."
Marguerita 'Rita' Jane Dentino is the director of Casa Freehold. At almost 70 years old, she has been an immigrant rights activist her whole life, from marching with Martin Luther King Jr, to fighting against the war in Vietnam, and fighting for immigrant rights, especially in Freehold, New Jersey. She is participating in this action thinking about her 6 grandchildren. She says, "I want to work for a world where my children and grandchildren can live that respects other human beings, including undocumented immigrants."
Ligia Trujillo is an immigrant from Bogota, Colombia. She came to the United States with her two children looking for a better life, and has lived here for 10 years. Although she came here looking for the 'american dream,' life has been hard and she has experienced discrimination and sexual harassment at work, which she never denounced due to fear from deportation. Although she is now a permanent resident and her children are grown up, she believes in continuing to fight for others who continue to fear immigration enforcement, especially against deportations. She is a mother and an organizer with Unidad Latina en Acción New Jersey, and believes that the only way change happens is that people must fight for their rights.
Jorge Torres was born in Ecuador, where he had his first experience seeing inequality, particularly in the way indigenous people in his town were treated. He is an film maker, and an immigrant rights organizer. He is founder of Unidad Latina en Acción New Jersey, working to educate, empower and organize local grassroots communities. Four years ago he became a citizen, but continues to organize with immigrant communities. He was undocumented for 7 years and continues to have undocumented family, who fear being deported. Torres is risking arrest today because he believes immigrant communities have a right to live with dignity, and that "President Obama must be held accountable for the almost 2 million deportations, and pressured to use the power he has to stop separating families."
Roberto Lopez lives in Kearny, New Jersey working as an independent writer for Spanish language newspapers and is an organizer with Unidad Latina en Acción New Jersey. He migrated to the United States in 1993 and lived undocumented for seven years, experiencing exploitation by his employers. He became involved in fighting for immigrant rights when his sister's husband was deported. His brother in law was detained by immigration agents while he was working, and was deported immediately. "This left my sister alone with her three children, living in constant fear of living the same fait. I am doing this action for her, and for the families that I see with my work with the community every day."
Carlos Canales is an immigrant rights organizer with Casa Freehold in Freehold, New Jersey. He is an immigrant himself from El Salvador, who traveled here undocumented in 1986. When he first came to the United States he was stopped at the border and spent two months in immigration detention, separated from his 4 year old daughter and his wife. He remembers that it was a dehumanizing experience, "because they only remember you as numbers." He states, "I hope that President Obama's heart softens, and understands that immigrants are here to work and help our families."