Daughter comforting her mother as she blocks 676 in Philadelphia #Not1More #DismantleICE pic.twitter.com/pkevW1aR2i
— Juntos (@Vamos_Juntos_) June 28, 2016
BREAKING: Philadelphia blocks main expressway to call for #MoratoriumNow. https://t.co/3T3MVZSlIM #Not1More pic.twitter.com/uCEvG06NqJ
— Not1More (@Not1_More) June 28, 2016
Erick Perez-Hernandez’s parents have been in the US for two year longer than he’s been alive but he is a citizen and they are not. They’ve waited since November, 2014 to see the work authorization and deportation relief program, DAPA, go into effect only to witness the non-ruling by the Supreme Court that left the injunction on the program still in place.
In response to that ruling, Erick and others are joining a wave of protests (see Atlanta and Hartford yesterday) demanding the President use his executive authority to freeze ICE and put a hold on deportations.
He is joined by Lluli Pilar, a business owner, a proud mother, and a resident of Philadelphia for more than a decade who would have also benefited from the DAPA program and wants the President to remove the threat that she and her loved ones could be taken from the place they call home.
Together they marched from the Philadelphia ICE Office, the entity behind the Berks Detention Center, where many families and children are detained in inhumane conditions, and the site where raids are planned, to the Vine street entrance of the expressway and are now blocking the roads calling on the Obama Administration to put a moratorium on deportations now.
Juntos, via the #not1more Campaign, have a national petition directed to the President they launched last Thursday.
– Participant quotes –
Reverend Adan A. Mairena, an ordained Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and pastor of the West Kensington Ministry at Norris Square in Philadelphia, explains, “I am willing to be arrested today because I am morally obligated to put my Christian faith into action. The words of Emma Lazarus, that are engraved on the Statue of liberty, compel me to act against the injustice of not welcoming people into our country, which prides itself on the ideals of liberty and freedom. I believe that people are a gift of God and that we, especially the followers of the teachings of Jesus, are obligated to welcome the stranger and that we are responsible for each-others’ well being. For these reasons in a clear and conscientious state of mind I am willing to be arrested for that in which I believe.”
Erick Perez-Hernandez, a 13-year-old US citizen of DAPA eligible parents in South Philadelphia says, “I am exercising my right to defend my family and my community today and to ask the President of the United States to do more, to stop all deportations which rip apart our families and my community. My parents have been in the United States for almost 15 years and waited almost two years after the president announced DAPA to only get nothing again. It is unfair, wrong and now I have to wonder if my sister and I have to worry about being ripped away from our parents.”
Adrianna Berring, a Tucson Arizona native and 19 years old Swarthmore student, had this to say, “I am doing this for both my biological and chosen family: for my aunt who has been in the United States for over ten years but does not qualify for DAPA, and for the community that I have found in South Philadelphia, which has been nothing but welcoming and supportive during my time here. I have privileges many of my loved ones do not simply because of where I was born; I am doing this because no one deserves to be treated as less than human because of something so arbitrary. I want the president to take responsibility for what he has built up, an unaccountable deportation machine. Instead of casting it off to the next administration. He has the power to create tremendous positive change in the lives of millions.”
Lluli Pilar has been in the US for over 10 years and is married with a US citizen daughter. She and her husband are business owners and have been active in the community for almost a decade. She is DAPA eligible and
said, “I have been in this country and contributing to the growth of my city for almost 10 years. This is my home; this is my daughter’s home. I was devastated to hear the Supreme Court announcement but realized there is still hope, Obama can do more. He has the power to end all deportations and to dismantle ICE before it gets passed down to the next administration. This is a crucial year and he still has until November to make change.”