On Thursday September 23, over 70 civil and immigrant rights organizations gathered to host actions across the country in the Communities Not Cages national Day of Action. This national Day of Action was coordinated to demand that President Biden shut down all detention centers, reunite currently detained people with their families and community, and stop all deportations including Title 42 expulsions. Three of our partner organizations — Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), Puente Human Rights Movement (Puente), and La Resistencia — hosted action in various cities across the country. Below, you can read highlights from their events.
GLAHR (Atlanta, GA)
In Georgia, our compas from GLAHR kicked off the National Day of Action in collaboration with various other GA grassroots organizations. The state of Georgia has a well documented history of abuse and inhumane practices in detention centers, and groups are currently demanding the shut down of the Stuart Detention Center. At the rally community organizers shared their demands for a safer Georgia for all, and formerly detained individuals shared their experiences with ICE enforcement.
A community organizer with GLAHR shared: “For so many years we have been fighting for justice for our people. In recent years, women at Irwin detention center suffered illegal [medical] procedures and that is what it took for people to actually care. What else needs to happen? We have community members dying every day, and the situation has gotten even worse with COVID.”
A former detainee revealed the realities of his experience: “Our communities are suffering, Not only those who are in detention but their families and loved ones as well. Our government is doing this to us. It’s not fair and it’s not necessary. There was no reason for them to keep me in detention for that long. Instead they decided to honor a contract with private corporations. They are just getting money and they don’t care who is suffering. They just care about the money they are getting from having that extra bed filled.”
To learn more about GLAHR and support their efforts click here: http://glahr.org
La Resistencia (Seattle, WA)
In Washington, our compas from La Resistencia gathered with allied groups in front of the Immigration Court and ICE Field Office to demand that ICE grant prosecutorial discretion to all people in deportations proceedings.
The rally was also in part celebration of a critical victory for Maru Mora Villalpando who, after spending 4 years in deportation proceedings, was granted prosecutorial discretion and legal permanent residence status. She had been targeted by ICE as a result of her public community work of protesting organizing actions against detention centers and ICE abuses.
One community member shared: “This is an immense triumph for all who are organizing for the rights of all people who are fighting against ICE. Maru has always been fighting for justice, speaking truth to power, and has done this at great risk. Maru had the courage to put herself, her freedom, on the front line. We see that our immigrant community, our detained communities, can have the courage to fight back against the abuses of ICE. If Maru could do what she did being an undocumented person, what can we all do? This victory gives us the energy to keep fighting until all people have freedom and justice.”
To close out the action, Maru ripped up the deportation proceedings paperwork that she had been carrying with her for 4 years saying: “This victory shows that ICE has the power to end deportation proceedings — they must use prosecutorial discretion in their actions. We will continue to fight for releases [from detention and the system]. It is time for Biden and Secretary Mayorkas to deliver: End all deportations now and free them all.”
To learn more about La Resistencia and support their efforts click here: http://laresistencianw.org
Puente (Phoenix, AZ)
In Arizona, our compas gathered in action to demand an end to the deportations and expulsions of Haitians and asylum seekers, and that the Biden Administration discontinue the use of the Trump-era Title 42 policy. This policy singles out people seeking asylum and allows ICE and CBP to target and prioritize them for removal based on a public health code, though many experts have denounced as invalid and based in anti-immigrant sentiment.
One community member shared: “We are going to have to come together to win and to bring justice to our community. We’re going to have together as a community to fight racism and these injustices that we see every single day. It’s important, when we think of Haiti in particular, it’s important to know that there are material conditions or causes because of colonialism, slavery, and anti-Blackness.”
“We all know why we’re here. We’re heartbroken, we’re outraged, we don’t even know what else to do but show up because we have seen so much inhumanity. For too long we have been trying to convince them that migration is a human right. And still we are here today, saying don’t deport people in their time of need.”
To learn more about Puente AZ and support their efforts click here: https://puenteaz.org