HARTFORD — Undocumented immigrants and community leaders, members of the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA), are blocking traffic outside the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Hartford, demanding a moratorium on deportations. The protest follows the Supreme Court’s split decision in US v. Texas, which allows anti-immigrant governors from 26 states to block Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The sit-in is underway at 450 Main St, Hartford, CT.
“I am undocumented, unafraid, and here to stay!” said Lucas Codognolla from Stamford. “I’m blocking the street today for the tens of thousands of people here in CT whose freedom has been blocked by the Supreme Court split decision. I take action against the criminalization of immigrant communities of color, against this police state that terrorizes our communities, breaks up families, and deports people to their death. I demand an end to deportations now!”
The Obama administration has deported more than 2.5 million people, more than all the people deported from the United States in the 20th century, according to government data. In January and May, Connecticut leaders denounced deportation raids targeting Central American children and families, because children were afraid to go to school. Following the Supreme Court decision on Thursday, CIRA and groups across the country have launched a national petition directed at President Obama demanding a moratorium on deportations.
Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA) is a statewide coalition of community groups. Participating in today’s action are ACLU CT, Connecticut Students for a Dream (C4D), CT Working Families, Junta for Progressive Action (New Haven), Make the Road CT (Bridgeport), Manos Unidas, Ministerio de Hermandad (Meriden), Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA – New Haven), United Action CT, and more.
Statements from people in the civil disobedience:
“I am proudly undocu(DACA)mented and unafraid.” Camila was born in Brazil and immigrated with her family to Danbury, CT at age 9. She graduated from Western CT State University (WCSU) in Biology and International Studies. In 2010 Camila was one of the founding members of CT Students for a Dream, a grassroots, youth-led organization that fights for the rights of undocumented youth and families.
“I am participating in civil disobedience today because our community has been ignored for far too long and the time has come to disrupt public spaces to show that we are not going anywhere.” Renato is a community organizer for the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance and student at the University of Connecticut. “I am frustrated with the inaction and complacency of politicians from both major parties that have failed to meet the needs of the immigrant community in our state and our nation.”
For more than 20 years, Mark has opened his home, the Amistad Catholic Worker House, to the needy. “As a citizen born here in the US I’m disgusted and ashamed by the ruling of the Supreme Court. I’ve spent my life building a community that’s welcoming to people who are under hardship, and so I need to be on the streets resisting this movement toward fear and hate and walling off people from each other. My sense of who I am and who I want this country to be moves me to participate in this action.” Amistad Catholic Worker is a community of faith dedicated to the daily practice of the Works of Mercy, voluntary poverty, and prayer.
Erik wants to go to college, but he doesn’t qualify for federal financial aid, and he works to support his mom and sister. Brought to New Haven when he was in grade school, he is an undocumented immigrant. “President Obama says that he doesn’t want to deport families, but he keeps locking up children, moms and dads and breaking apart families. We want ICE out of Connecticut! I’m ready to stand up for my community.”
Alok was born in and lives in Hartford. “I stand here as a child of immigrant parents, an ally to all undocumented folks, and representing people of color. State violence upon people of color and immigrants criminalizes our very existence. We resist these crimes against the people, and reject the Supreme Court’s indecision on executive actions on immigration. We will continue to fight until we see justice and live in peace in our own communities.” Alok is a social justice activist moving with the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA), engaging issues impacting people of color.
John Jairo Lugo
John Jairo lived many years as an undocumented immigrant and survived immigration prison before he became a US citizen and later helped found Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA), a grassroots group in New Haven. “If ICE is going to be out in the streets than we will be on the streets too. Our organizing has won municipal IDs, in-state tuition, and driver’s licenses, and we won’t stop until all our immigrant sisters and brothers are freed from prison and freed from deportation. We have the courage to do this, so President Obama should have the courage to undo the deportation machine that he created.”
“I am a Bridgeport resident and student at Southern CT State University. I am the child of two Costa Rican immigrants who spent years struggling with fear and disrespect until acquiring citizenship. I am risking arrest today because I am willing to do anything to ensure that others do not have to face the indignity and insecurity that my parents faced.”
“I am undocumented, unafraid, and here to stay! I’m blocking the street today for the tens of thousands of people here in CT whose freedom has been blocked by the Supreme Court split decision. I take action against the criminalization of immigrant communities of color, against this police state that terrorizes our communities, breaks up families, and deports people to their death. I demand an end to deportations!”