Last night, the home of Erika Andiola, prominent leader in the migrant justice movement, was raided by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). Her mother, Maria Arreola and brother Heriberto Andiola Arreola were taken away. Fortunately, both Erika’s mom and brother were released this morning. Erika is known for fearlessly confronting Arizona’s SB1070 during its inception and has since then led multiple campaigns for immigrant rights. Not only I am inspired by her activism, but I understand all too well to the fear of being separated from my family for no other reason than lacking documentation.
I am hoping that Erika’s case will finally raise the awareness that is needed to confront this administration’s inhumane deportation policies. The Obama administration has deported more immigrants than any other U.S. president in history. Just this past year alone, this administration has deported 409,849 individuals, setting a new record for deportations. With all this talk about CIR, it is my hope that we abandon this “politics of respectability” approach to immigration. Instead of critiquing, challenging and dismantling a system that has created division there are those of us striving desperately join its ranks. Everytime we cling to this narrative of who is worthy of legalization we are giving legitimacy to a system that relies heavily on the injustices of other people. By doing so, entire communities are rendered invisible. We become complicit in our own oppression.
Roberto Lovato says it best:
The terrifying raid of the Andiola family that we heard about and witnessed recently should give us reason to actually read what Obama and his immigration allies are pushing when they say “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” (CIR). Read for yourself how they are proposing legislation that looks like this most recent CIR proposal in 2010, legislation that prioritizes and expands raids, imprisonment, deportation terror like that experienced by the Andiola.Check out the legislation. It’s there for you to read, as is the tragic lie these “leaders” are perpetrating against us all. “Comprehensive Immigration Reform means legalizing ,at best, about 3-5 million (NOT 11-12 million) undocumented people in exchange for condemning non-eligible current immigrants and all future undocumented to the kind of terror Erika Andiola and her family experienced last night. About 80-90% of CIR is about more enforcement and punishment and only 10-20% about citizenship. Please read the laws (or the analysis) before joining those asking you to mouth that fatal phrase: “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”
Yes, Erika. It can happen to any of us. None of us are safe. Let this be an awakening for all those in the “movement.”