For Immediate Release
Contact: Sheridan Aguirre | firstname.lastname@example.org | 202.793.2267
Washington, D.C. – Based on recent reports, the current funding agreement by the conference committee gives more dollars and power for the deportation force to detain, deport and kill immigrants. But immigrant communities will not stay silent.
On Capitol Hill, more than 50 immigrant youth — from states such as California, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington, and Maryland — held a performance to call on Congress to cut funding for Trump’s deportation force.
(Top) Immigrant youth share their stories of loved ones in detention; in the background, an ‘ICE agent’ holds money bags & youth are ‘held’ in cells. (Bottom) Youth raise hearts with the names of those that ICE & CBP have targeted.
In Miami, immigrant mothers and allies who form the Circle of Protection — including Florida Immigrant Coalition, Friends of Miami Dade Detainees, and Women Working Together — rallied outside the Miramar ICE Facility ahead of Valentine’s Day to oppose the expansion of the deportation force at the federal and state levels. The Miramar community also urged elected officials to show immigrants love with solutions that protect people from detention and deportation.
Maria Bilbao stands in front of three hearts representing the solutions that national, local, and state officials can do to protect immigrants from detention & deportation.
Among the stories shared today was that of Edder Rizo Sanchez, who, in the midst of a Congressional fight for the Dream Act, was forced to self-deport in March 2018 due to the horrid conditions he faced while detained at Stewart Detention Center. Edder also formed part of a class-action lawsuit against USCIS over the lack of due process in the termination of his, and others’, DACA; his was reinstated the exact day he was deported.
Alejandra Rizo, cousin of Edder Rizo Sanchez and a DACA recipient herself, said:
“Edder fell victim to Trump’s termination of DACA and Congress’ inaction on the Dream Act. In our hometown of Spartanburg, SC, we rallied around Edder in his time of need, but it soon became evident that deportation was the norm and protection was rarely the outcome.
“My family has paid the ultimate price of Congress growing ICE and CBP. They took my cousin away and now I don’t know when I’ll see him again.”
Stephanie Rizo, sister of Edder Rizo Sanchez and a DACA recipient herself, said:
“During one visit to see Edder, I ran into another visiting family that was there to grieve a family member’s death. Edder didn’t even know that happened because ICE did so much to cover it up from the other detainees. I was really scared, because as soon as the first week he was detained, ICE was already neglecting my brother.
“Congress listen up — ICE and CBP don’t need any more money to hurt people. Cut their funding now and protect people like my family.”
Maria Bilbao, Florida Organizer with United We Dream, said of the Valentine’s day event in Miami:
“While Congress goes back and forth over funding for deportations, our state politicians are trying to pass SB 168 which would grow the deportation force by forcing police to work with ICE. This is wrong: what we need are solutions that show love and protection for all immigrants. We say no more deportations, no more women in shackles, and no more broken families and broken hearts.”
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.