Phoenix, AZ: United We Dream, the largest network of immigrant youth in the country, is speaking out to condemn Saturday’s ICE raid of multiple car wash locations in Arizona, one of the biggest immigration raids in recent history. Many of the almost 300 people initially detained have been released, but ICE still has many in custody, leaving families wondering when they’ll see their loved ones again.
This latest example of the Obama administration’s policy of separating families by detaining and deporting hundreds of thousands is forcing our communities to live in fear and undermining our efforts to pass immigration reform with a real path to citizenship without this senseless immigration enforcement.
“The administration needs to stop deporting immigrant families that will benefit from immigration reform now,” said Dulce Matuz, president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, an affiliate of United We Dream. “We will not accept this ongoing separation of our families and terrorizing of our communities. If the White House is serious about immigration reform, they need to reunite families and end these outrageous raids. We will continue to pressure and demand that Congress pass reform that ends out-of-control enforcement and deportations and provides a pathway to citizenship so that our families are permanently protected.”
“I had so many emotions,” said Jessica Ruiz, a DREAMer in Arizona whose parents were both detained after Saturday’s raids. “I was nervous. I was sad. I didn’t know what was going to happen. There was a lot of confusion and I felt overwhelmed by everything.”
Immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship is within our grasp and is the only way to fully secure our families staying together, though we also know that the administration is capable of stopping these detentions and deportations now. While Ruiz’ parents have been released and are back home, many others are still awaiting the fate of their family members.
“I’m thankful they’re back,” Ruiz said. “But a lot of things went through my mind. We’re just here to work. I never thought we’d have to go through this. But we did.”