Six people were arrested last night in Phoenix, Arizona amid protests that saw hundreds of demonstrators temporarily block Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) vans from taking community members away.
The confrontation was set in motion earlier in the day when Guadalupe Garcia Rayos, mother of two, wife, and long-time community member was detained during a routine annual check-in with immigration authorities. Garcia Rayos was originally arrested during former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's 2009 anti-immigrant sweeps. She was released at that time and allowed to remain in the country on the condition that she report to ICE once a year. Only this time, Trump is in the White House. After voluntarily presenting herself to ICE yesterday, la pinche Migra detained her!
Within a couple of hours of Guadalupe’s detention, the community group Puente Human Rights Movement sprang into action by not letting any bus or van leave the ICE Headquarters. The spirited, mostly young and brown crowd held the blocks for about an hour, at the tune of Native American drums and chants of “Not One More! Ni Una más!”
Disastrously, the Phoenix Police Department (PPD) stepped in and helped the ICE officials out-maneuver the protesters, who had linked arms, sat down and blocked both entrances: alas they took 'Lupita'. Her family and friends do not know where to yet, it could be a detention center or the border. This is believed to be the first time that the Trump administration has sought to deport a “low priority” undocumented immigrant. Under the Obama administration, ICE focused on detaining and deporting “high priority” cases involving undocumented immigrants who had a prior criminal record.
The PPD’s participation added insult to injury as Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton recently vowed that PPD would not help ICE carry out its duties. Videos from last night captured some gut-wrenching scenes of protesters laying down in front of a van and hugging the tires. You also see Garcia Rayos's petrified face inside the van, through a window, while outside, her husband and their children (ages 14 and 16, both born here) touch the glass and tell her, desperately sobbingly: "Todo va a estar bien Mamá,(it's gonna be alright).
After PPD arrested six protesters, dozens of local police formed a blockade between the van and the demonstrators, batons in hand, clearing the road and allowing the van to leave. Feeling tricked and angry, the lively crowd took to the streets blocking traffic, including the Phoenix light rail for a few minutes, before being threatened by police who warned them that they were about to be arrested. They dispersed.
1. Call Senator McCain at
(602) 952-2410 and ask him to stand with
Guadalupe and her family and to release her from ICE.
2. Call the Phoenix ICE Director Carter and ask him to not deport Arizona mother Guadalupe García de Rayos (#095782449) and tell him her children need her and so does her community.
Phoenix ICE Director: (602) 766-7030.
3. Share this and sign the petition!http://bit.ly/defendlupe
Mariano Muñoz-Elías is a Peruvian-born, long-time activist based in Brooklyn. Follow him on twitter @bkmariano.
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