After Immigrant Youth Shut Down Border in Peaceful Protest of Child Detention Camp, Greisa Martinez Rosas, UWD Deputy Executive Director, Profiled, Targeted and Detained by Deportation Force
For Immediate Release
Contact: Angela Simaan | firstname.lastname@example.org | 202.768.7485
Sheridan Aguirre | email@example.com | 202.793.2267
EL PASO, TEXAS – This morning, Greisa Martinez Rosas, United We Dream Deputy Executive Director, and DACA beneficiary, was pulled from the security line at the El Paso International Airport by agents of the Deportation Force. Agents called the camps for her transfer and Greisa was detained for hours. She was released only after persistent pressure from United We Dream organizers. Her situation mirrors that of millions of immigrants and people of color who are being profiled and targeted by the out of control Deportation Force and police.
Greisa spoke yesterday at a protest in Tornillo, TX – site of a notorious detention camp for children – where 250 courageous United We Dream leaders and immigrant community activists shut down the port of entry during a peaceful protest. When she was detained, Greisa was traveling from El Paso to Brownsville to speak at a rally organized by the ACLU today.
After the same protest in Tornillo, Luzhilda Campos, United We Dream Deportation Defense team leader, was stopped by sheriff police, who called the DHS police to the scene. Thankfully, LuzHilda was not detained but her situation shines a light on the extent to which local police operate as one with the Deportation Force in our localities and why an immediate end to local law enforcement collaboration with the Deportation Force is needed immediately. There is an urgency to put and end to policies and agencies that criminalize, incarcerate and deport people of color.
Photos and video clips from yesterday’s protest in Tornillo, TX available here.
Greisa Martinez Rosas, Deputy Executive Director of United We Dream and potential Dream Act beneficiary said:
“I was profiled at the airport, soon after immigrant youth spoke out against the Deportation Force. I was almost sent to the camps, but United We Dream organizers rushed to the airport and demanded answers for hours until I was released. Had it not been for this organizing, I may not be free.
This was terrifying, even more so because I know what happened to me happens every day as people of color are being profiled, criminalized and targeted by out of control police force in our cities and in our country.
When immigrant youth and people of color protest to protect our families and to defend our democracy, we take great risks.
My call to all US citizens and people of principle is to rise up and put your bodies on the line to stop the Deportation Force and the targeting of people of color.”
Luzhilda Campos, Deportation Defense Lead Organizer for United We Dream said,
“Congress must defund the deportation force and local officials must pass policies to keep them out of our local communities.
What happened to Greisa and me over the last 24 hours is yet another example of how the Deportation Force works. They target people, they work with local police and they disappear people who the racists in Washington don’t like. They have outposts in every city, they are building more detention camps and we have to stop them.
Most people don’t have an organizing team behind them and that is why we are calling on all people in this country to rise up and stop the Deportation Force. This is not a drill. They are filling up the camps with people because of the color of their skin, the language they speak and their nationality. The Deportation Force exists to eliminate Black and brown bodies from this land and the corporations who are a part of it profit from our suffering.”
Greisa Martinez Rosas (29) and her sisters are semi-protected from deportation because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). She is a courageous advocate for the rights and liberties of all people, and was arrested in 2014 for peacefully protesting at the office of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to demand that the Obama Administration provide deportation protection to immigrant parents, like her mother, and other members of the immigrant community. Greisa’s mother has since passed away and her father was deported in 2008. She has two US Citizen sisters and one sister who is protected by DACA. Her “mixed status” family is emblematic of most undocumented immigrant families living in the US today.
Luzhilda Campos (29) is semi-protected from deportation because of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). She organizes to end the detention and incarceration of our people and fights for their dignity and humanity regardless of the labels the criminal justice system puts on them. LuzHilda has been organizing since 2007 has helped countless New Mexicans apply for DACA and has fought for and won local policies to keep the deportation machine out of New Mexico communities.
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.