August 21, 2013
Undocumented & Unafraid
This action came after hundreds of migrants were rounded up for deportation across Arizona in recent days.
Demonstrators chained themselves to the gates of an ICE detention facility, effectively blocking any buses of deportees from exiting. After hours of blockading the demonstrators were arrested and released later that evening.
Those arrested returned back to the ICE facility later that evening to regroup with whoever was still present. Shortly after they returned a bus full of migrants set for deportation tried to sneak through the tired demonstrators, but an impromptu blockade was formed and bus was blocked by Migrant Justice activists.
Over the past couple of years there has been a sharp increase in direct action tactics being employed by those engaged in the struggle for Migrant justice. In 2012 Immigration reform organizers took over Obama Campaign offices across the country and others exposed crimes by purposefully getting arrested and being sent to ICE detention centers where reports of abuse and rights violations were rampant. In one particular case Viridiana Martinez an undocumented activist with “National Immigrant Youth Alliance” allowed herself to be detained and taken to Broward Transitional Center where she exposed the Obama Administration for lying about promises made to release immigrants from detention centers who had no criminal records among other criteria.
Here’s a short transcript of an interview from Democracy Now! with Martinez while she was inside Broward Transitional Center-
“I am at Broward detention center right now talking to you on the phone. Basically, I have been—I allowed myself to be detained, because we knew that—we were getting phone calls, we were getting emails from family members of people who had been picked up and were, for months and months and months and months, being held here. And we were taking their cases from afar, creating online petitions for them to stop their deportation. And after the many calls and the many emails, we decided to come here and see what was going on. And what we have found is, like expected, that a majority of cases here are low-priority cases that, according to President Obama’s announcement last year, he was not going to be departing. And yet, they’re all being held here.
AMY GOODMAN: Viridiana, are you going to be deported?
VIRIDIANA MARTINEZ: [inaudible] I mean, [inaudible]. You know, but it’s not—I think that I’m pretty—I mean, based on, you know, the deferred action announcement, I’m pretty safe, I would say. As for people that I—that I came in here, the cases that I came in here to expose are those people who, you know, don’t have the spotlight. They’re not DREAMers. And, you know, they’re the people who have been detained for two-and-a-half years, for, you know, over eight months now, for—you know, that are suffering in terrible conditions. They clearly should be released, and they’re not. They’re being held here. And this place is owned by a private company, by GEO, and there is money being made at the expense of—at the suffering of these people.”
The inspiring video of this past Wednesday’s action ends with some bold language “ The time to Escalate is Now” and images of a demonstrator posing a serious question written on a sign ” WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WEREN’T AFRAID? ” Two important comments anyone who claims to be in solidarity should ponder on. Especially when the comments are coming from people who are taking major risks while being from some of the most repressed communities in the US.