As Administration Nears Two Million Deportations, Groups Say “Not One More,” Urge White House Action
What: Rally, Workshops and March in Support of Human Rights Leaders in Detention and the National Campaign to Stop Deportations
When: April 5, Noon to 5
Where: The Northwest Detention Center
Who: Speakers include Families of Human Rights Leaders; Jose Moreno, hunger striker who has been released; Maru Mora Villalpando, Sandy Restrepo, Carino Barragan and Angelica Chazaro, leaders of the Feb. 24th action and strike support efforts
Visuals: Many artistically done banners and homemade signs in English and Spanish that say You are not alone; Not1More Deportation; Deferred Action for All; 2 Million 2 Many. Several hundred people gathered making enough noise to be heard by those held in the immigration prison.
The protest is prompted by the record deportations under the Obama administration which are anticipated to hit the milestone of two million removals since he took office. They say their families can’t wait for relief and that the President doesn’t have to wait for Congress or a review to use his executive authority to stop the suffering. He could expand the deferred action program he created for immigrant youth and suspend deportations immediately. The Blue Ribbon Commission Recommendations to the President will be unveiled. It is expected to outline eight steps that the President can take right now.
“We don’t need a review, we need the President to stop separating our families” explains Maru Mora Villalpando, one of the national report’s authors and event organizers. “If he feels our pain, he can give us relief with the stroke of a pen.” Mora-Villalpando, a successful political strategist and consultant, came out as undocumented when she took to the streets on Feb. 24th to stop the deportation buses. The 25 men locked in the immigration jail stated in their March 6 Call for Action: “Today we join ourselves to that effort and demand that the Federal Executive (Mr. President Barack Obama), use his presidential authority and order a total stop to the unjust deportations that are separating families, destroying homes, and bringing uncertainty, insecurity and unhappy futures to our children, our loved ones. We are being treated like the worst criminals, our freedom is limited in the name of laws that have no moral basis and that were in turn created during a moment of terror and confusion.”
The organizers cite the Secure Communities (S-Comm) deportation quota program, first activated in parts of Washington State in April of 2012, as an engine behind separating local families who could benefit from reform. Since its activation, S-Comm deported more than 2,600 Washington State residents.
Several months ago the four organizers came together to explore ways to dramatize the need for reform. They invited a small group of immigration activists to join the planning and in the early morning hours of Feb. 24th that blocked the buses and vans leaving the Northwest Detention Center, preventing the deportation of 120 people that day. Inspired by this expression of care, those held in the detention center decided to advocate for themselves and their families through a hunger strike. They begin it on Friday, March 7 and it continues. The Feb. 24th group with many new supporters have rallied around the human rights leaders inside the immigration prison and have a daily presence at the once ignored facility.
Retaliation was swift and both overt and subtle. Yet, the strike continues for an end to deportations and the separation of families, reasonable bonds, wholesome food, fair pay and respectful treatment.Their strike has received substantial local and even national coverage and sparked protests in Oregon, New York and Florida.
To stop deportations and immigration prisons, groups across the country are making April 5th a national day of action under the banner “Two Million Too Many,” saying that the President’s approach on immigration needs to change.
More information on activities across the nation can be found at: http://bit.ly/april5n1m and by following #not1more and #2million2many