Monday, November 28, 2011

Undocumented Youth vs. Border Patrol

Dear Friends,

DREAM Act-eligible immigrant youth, Isaac Barrera and Jonathan Perez went to Alabama to resist the nation's harshest immigration law, and to show people that the Obama administration is still imprisoning and deporting DREAMers.  

Go here to watch the video and to ask Ms. Cecilia Muñoz, a former immigrant advocate and top Latina at the White House, to intervene to make sure Isaac and Jonathan go free and that resources are no longer wasted imprisoning and deporting people like them.

Suprise: Jonathan and Isaac Released from Detention

Happy Thanksgiving, however you may celebrate it.  So we have one piece of good news for the day, Jonathan and Isaac werereleased very early in the morning today.  They spent a total of 10 days in the Basile  immigration detention center, the first five days they were in a New Orleans prison.

The action they took part in was an intentional action to get involved with immigration authorities.

We know many of you think it’s crazy but why not?  Immigration thinks it has some power over our communities, they think they can hold us hostage with the threat of detention. So why not take the power away from them and let them know we can go to detention on our own terms. If we take the fear card away from them then what do they have to hold over us? What would it look like the next time a bill like HB56 were proposed and the community was actually willing to stand up to the racist legislators?  That is a future we want to see.  We eliminate the fear.  We empower the community to stand up for themselves.  We then demand change, our own change.

If you organize you are safe.

So far we’ve been able to show you that if you are undocumented and organized you are safe from deportation.  Obama memo or not, if you are a part of a larger community then you are safe from deportation. What immigration authorities are banking on is your fear, you need to be afraid of them therefore they can rule your life.  Are you really going to play into their hands?  By not coming out you are playing into their hand.  They are banking on the fact that you will be afraid of them.

If you challenge the system it will fall apart.

The power of civil disobedience is that we go against the norm, we change the power dynamics and show that we are the ones to dictate our futures.  We are the ones in control.  It isn’t that the cops are arresting us, we are allowing for the cops to arrest us and on our own terms.  It isn’t that ICE has the option to detain us, we are dictating whether we allow for them to detain us or not.  We are the ones in control, regardless of what the authorities think.  Once we take the power back from them then we can start to win.  That is what we do with civil disobedience.

We can organize inside and out.

Once inside detention Jonathan and Isaac were able to continue to organize.  They spent the last week gathering stories of those in detention, finding other folks who everyone says we aren’t deporting.  They pulled together mini know your rights workshops and helped educate those inside.  Going to detention isn’t fun for anyone, it sucks.  It is boring. It is depressing.  It is a degrading, dehumanizing and unsettling experience.  But if it is going to happen regardless why not let it be on your own terms, why not organize while you are inside the center so that we can show how effective we can be inside or outside. Let’s flip the power on those who think they are in charge.

Many in this movement would like to fool you into believing change will come if you register enough voters or sign enough petitions.  The reality is that, like the civil rights movements of the past, real change will only come when we empower ourselves to demand nothing less than to be treated as human beings.  We have rights, why not demand them?

To those opposed to us all you need to know is that we are no longer afraid of you.  We are coming after you and will not settle until we have all of the rights we deserve.  To translate, yes we have the audacity to demand rights.  Get over it.

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