The children of Manuel Lopez, a man caught in recent city-wide raids conducted by ICE joined with almost a dozen Wisconsinites, including Voces de la Frontera executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz, to chain themselves together at the District field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to condemn the raids that have separated them from their father since May 27th of this year.
“I just want my dad to come home,” explains Brianna Lopez, age 11. “He’s a good guy and I miss him a lot.”
.”My brother is a role model for me and for his children. People should see the way he’d give you the shirt off his back. It breaks my heart to see what his kids are going through without their father right now,” adds Ruben Lopez, Manuel’s younger brother.
The protest started at approximately at 6:00am this morning at the ICE office located at 310 E. Knapp Street. The action was organized in response to the May 27th immigration raid in Milwaukee, and as part of the national campaign demanding that the President use his executive authority to stop deportations.
As Congress stalls on immigration reform and the President delays his own action, Wisconsin families have vowed to do all they can to stop deportation and detention as they witness what they describe as ICE spreading terror locally.
“If ICE is going to step up its attacks on families in our communities, we’re going to step up our response,” says Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera. “It’s obscene that the President is not only prolonging the suffering of people he claims to advocate for but is making it worse with sweeps that criminalize and intimidate our entire community. We all want to live in safe communities but spreading fear and distrust doesn’t help that goal. It undermines it.”
The protest is being broadcast live at and on Twitter with the hashtag #not1more
Ruben Lopez is a 28 year old artist, father and activist living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. young. His brother, Manuel, was picked up by Immigration and Customs enforcement during a recent operation. He says, “I’m tired of sitting around not doing anything while hard working AMERICAN families are being separated. Because we ARE Americans.”
Amari Blasini-Bush. Amari is 11 years young and she just finished 5th grade at St. Martini Lutheran School and is entering 6th grade. Her dad Manuel, was one of the people detained in the recent ICE raid in Wisconsin. She is a srtaight A student, helpful, caring and sweet. “I think it’s unfair that FAMILIES are going through this just because someone in their family was born in a different country. They are still people.”
Maricela Aguilar Monory was born in Mexico, but raised here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has lived here since the age of four and is a proud graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools and Marquette University. She is longtime member of Voces de la Frontera and Youth Empowered in the Struggle and recently received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. She is currently a graduate student at Brandeis University. “I am participating in the action today because nineteen years ago my parents boldly proclaimed that we deserved a better life when we escaped the NAFTA-induced poverty of Mexico and entered the U.S. We deserve to live with dignity, without fear, and with our families and to do so we need ICE out of our city!”
Jonathan Zuniga, age 21. He was born in Milwaukee and is a senior at UWM majoring in urban studies and minor in business. I got elected treasurer of Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) at UWM. I have been involved in YES since my senior year in high school. I currently intern at Carmen High School doing administrative work, and I also volunteer with Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa’s campaign. “All of my life I’ve seen how my undocumented parents have struggled- been mistreated at work, refused their rights. At school I saw how my best friends, when they applied for scholarships or college, were denied financial aid. It’s not fair that I had these advantages and my friends couldn’t. “I’m taking action today because I don’t want any more people to live with the fear of being deported- especially people who have lived here 10 or 20 years and haven’t committed any crime, and who have families.”
Oscar Hernandez Oscar came to the US at age 3. “I’m a legal permanent resident and hopefully I’ll apply for citizenship in 2 years. My parents used to be undocumented and much of my family still is. I’m doing this so that ICE knows that we will not stand and just watch our families get separated.”
Ceasar Ramel Crayton, 18, is from the North Side of Milwaukee. He just graduated from Pulaski High School and goes to Silver Lake College in the fall to study business and education. Ceasar has been involved in Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) since March 2013. “I’m participating today because the family of one of my friends was affected by the ICE raids a couple weeks ago. President Obama needs to use his power to stop deportations because people come here to the U.S. for a better life. “I would ask the President, how would you feel if your family was separated from you?”
Christine Neumann-Ortiz is executive director of Voces de la Frontera. “If ICE is going to step up its attacks on families in our communities, we’re going to step up our response. It’s obscene that the President is not only prolonging the suffering of people he claims to advocate for but is making it worse with sweeps that criminalize and intimidate our entire community. We all want to live in safe communities but spreading fear and distrust doesn’t help that goal. It undermines it.”
Iuscely Flores Villarreal , 17, just graduated from Reagan High School with honors, UW-Oshkosh. will study political science and Spanish. “I’m taking action because I want to make it known that there are people willing to go to jail to get other people out. I put myself in these familys’ situations and if that was my dad I would do anything to get him out.”
Lauro Bonilla, 54, Atotonilco el Bajo, Jalisco, México, came in 1979 and has lived in Milwaukee since arriving. Lauro has been a member of Voces de La Frontera for 9 years and is the President of his local union. He was undocumented until he was able to benefit from the amnesty in 1986. “I am part of the movement because I want to help defend workers’ rights, especially for immigrants. I’m participating to stop the deportations and to tell the President they are unjust.