Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
From the arrest of Congressman Raul Grijalva and other progressive representatives last week at an immigration reform rally to protesters chaining themselves to immigration detention center buses to the blockade of the Eloy Detention Center today, immigration reform advocates are turning up the pressure.
From the National Day Laborer Organizing Network…
Just now, protestors chained themselves in front of the Eloy Detention Center. Their action calls on the President to stop deportations and the criminalization of immigrants. Through civil disobedience they say they’re exposing the inhumane imprisonment at the center of current immigration policy and the needless warehousing of the undocumented who could benefit from reform.
Many of those inside Eloy have committed no major offense and instead are victims of Congress’ 34,000 minimum detention bed mandate and the profiling of Sheriffs like Arpaio and Border Patrol required to fulfill the arbitrary quota.
One of the protestors, 16 year old Sandy Estrada of Phoenix, AZ, whose brother has been detained in Eloy for nearly a year after being arrested on work-related charges, says, “I’m doing this to show my brother and all the other people inside that we support them and we will do what it takes to get them out. I want the President to know that everyone deserves to be with their families and that he can stop our pain.”
“Behind these walls are thousands taken far away from their families and the better lives they came here for.” explains Tomas Martinez of GLAHR in Atlanta, GA. “For Washington, detainees are just a number, but for us the people inside Eloy are our sisters and brothers. We want our families at home with us not behind bars just so some politician can look tough.”
Specifically, the Eloy Detention Center, is one of the largest in the country. The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)-owned facility has the capacity to jail 1,600 workers, fathers, and daughters in what has become notoriously horrendous conditions. It has recently made headlines after two detainees committed suicide last March and more recently when the company placed dream-eligible youth who reentered the country as an act of protest, into solitary confinement before their release.
The morning action is part of the #Not1More Deportation campaign that urges the President to be more than a bystander in the immigration debate and use his authority to provide immediate relief by stopping deportations. Event organizers say that more protests of the kind should be expected until the President grants relief.
On Friday, campaign participants closed Operation Streamline in Tucson through similar civil disobedience. Later today, the Phoenix-based Puente Movement is planning a rally at noon Margaret T. Hance Park (3rd street and Morseland) and march to the district ICE office (2035 N. Central Ave).