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Activists Escalate Deportation Fight PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 02:49

A. Garcia / SFVS

On Monday, April 7, three undocumented immigrants were arrested after they conducted a sit-in at the Washington, D.C. offices of two Latino Democrat members of the House of Representatives.

The young man and two women, Céasar Magallón, Mercedes Montano and Kenia Alcocer, were holding the sit-in as a protest against Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles). The protestors targeted those Congressional members, saying they have not publicly denounced President Barack Obama’s deportation record and because of the lack of action by Congress as a whole in regards to immigration reform.

The action is part of an escalation of protests by proimmigrant groups against deportations that they say keep separating families. The campaign began April 5 with demonstrations throughout the country, including one in Van Nuys.

About two dozen members of the San Fernando Valley Dream Team (SFVDT) and supporters held signs and called for a deportation moratorium before the San Fernando Valley’s government center along Van Nuys Boulevard.

Under the chant “not one more,” college students, families and activists called on President Obama and Congress to pass an immigration reform to benefit the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the country.

“We want our representatives to come out and stop the deportations. We don’t want any more family separations,” said Tifany Del Rio, 22, a North Hollywood resident and member of the SFVDT.

“If they don’t take action it’s because they don’t want to. They can do it," said Del Rio, who benefited by the President’s executive decision granting thousands of young immigrants work permits and a two-year deportation stay. That benefit has been extended for two more years.

Del Rio said Deferred Action should be extended to all undocumented immigrants. The activists object to the deportation of immigrants whose only crime, they say, is being in the country undocumented.

Eloisa Trujillo and her daughter Vanessa Flores, 14, are example of this.

Three years ago, Trujillo’s husband, Fermin Flores, was deported after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents showed up at the family home executing a deportation order against the Guatemalan immigrant.

“They showed up about 5 a.m. They told us they only wanted to talk to him and then they took him away,” recalled Trujillo.

Flores had a deportation order after he returned to Guatemala when one of his brothers got sick and was detained by Border Patrol agents as he tried to come into the U.S. illegally.

“I feel really sad. I couldn’t believe it that they were taking him away,” said Vanessa, in describing the traumatic experience for her and her two younger siblings.

Flores, who Trujillo said now suffers from diabetes and high cholesterol, remains in Guatemala and has not been able or tried to return to the U.S. to be with his family.

“It’s hard. I’m a single mother. We need an immigration reform,” said the house cleaner, a native a Mexico who has lived in the United States for 25 years.

“We need a reform so we can get better jobs, have health care and not be afraid of being caught when we have to drive,” Trujillo said.

The renewed call for immigration reform comes as Obama’s deportation record reaches an estimated two million since taking office, the most under any President.

Despite promises to push for an immigration reform under his presidency, Obama has not been able to do it. Last year, the Senate approved a measure with a legalization path for millions of undocumented immigrants, but the House of Representatives has refused to bring a similar measure to the floor for discussion and it’s unlikely they will do it this year with midterm elections being held in November.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 02:58

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