BREAKING: Following Action in Georgia, Chicagoans Stop Deportation Bus Heading to O’Hare Airport Demanding Not1More Deportation, Right to Return After Deportation.
November 19, 2013 (Chicago, IL) – Twelve Chicagoans have attached themselves to a deportation bus full of immigrants headed to the airport to be separated from their families. The immigrants on the bus include Octavio Nava and Brigido Acosta Luis, who have been the focus of national campaigns, and who are considered “priority for deportation” due to their past immigration histories. Their families, along with action participants, are urging President Obama to use his administrative powers to expand prosecutorial discretion for people who have crossed the border back to reunite with their families.
“All my son wanted was to be next to us. They didn’t even let me give them a hug goodbye. It’s not fair that President Obama has the power to stop deportations and keep this family together,” said Maria Luisa Sanchez, mother of Octavio Nava Cabrera after seeing her son before he was put on the deportation bus headed to O’Hare airport. ”We have fought so hard. I don’t think any family should go through this,” she concluded.
The group describes the separation of these families as heartbreaking. “Our mothers and fathers should not drive home from work fearing that a traffic stop will lead to deportation, like in Octavio’s case,” said Arianna Salgado, 21, queer undocumented leader with the West Suburban Immigrant Collective, a member of Undocumented Illinois, the organization leading the action. “The separation of these families is what enforcement looks like. Even here in Illinois every day that the President doesn’t take action is a day that more parents don’t come home,” she concluded.
This action is part of the national campaign calling for “Not One More” deportation, calling on President Obama to take action to stop deportations, and address his egregious record of deporting close to 2 million people during his term. Specifically, they are asking the President to use his administrative action to take the “priority” label off those who have re-entered the United States after being deported. These individuals are not a threat to the community, have contributed to this country, have built a life in the United States, and have no criminal record or no more than a minor misdemeanor. Those who have re-entered the United States are also a group that could have qualified under the Senate version of the immigration bill that was supported by the President, yet continue to be a high priority for deportation.
Undocumented immigrants who have been deported in the past are at high risk for being separated from their families, regardless of whether they have children, criminal records, or have lived in the country for more than 10 years. Considered “high-priority” for deportation under Immigration and Customs Enforcement criteria. This means that if immigration authorities detain them, they can be deported without contest or being able to apply for relief, they can be permanently barred from gaining lawful status, and can be criminally prosecuted for “unlawful reentry,” which is a federal felony.