Sunday, August 21, 2011

Several Arrested in Direct Action Against ICE "Secure Communities Act" Forum

Hundreds disrupted and walked out of a "public forum" organized by U.S. Immigration Customs & Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security to demonstrate opposition to the "Secure Communities Act". Instead of participating in ICE's attempt to gain public support through their phony forum, protesters chose direct action and civil disobedience instead and took to the streets resulting in several arrests. More from the Immigrant Youth Justice League:

Six Undocumented Youth Arrested in Chicago Action Against Secure Communities

UPDATE, 3:50 AM: All of the undocumented youth who were part of the action have been released, along with 3 supporters who were also detained by police. We are committed to supporting the undocumented youth in raising fund for their $1,500 bail. Please consider making a donation to support them and our organizing. Donate here.

Today Chicago responded to the hearing on Secure Communities by walking out of the hearing, and staging a civil disobedience where 6 undocumented youth were arrested. The action and protest took place after over 300 people walked out of the hearing, following a call from IYJL organizer Alaa Mukahhal. She said, “You would not tolerate this for you or your neighbors, why do you expect me to tolerate it for me and mine. I cannot accept the program or this task force.” The youth who were arrested, currently being held by the Chicago Police Department are: IYJL organizers Carla Novoa, Miguel Martinez, Jorge Mena and Ireri Unzueta Carrasco; Arianna Salgado from Nuestra Voz, and Fanny Martinez, from the Latin@ Youth Action League. 

Read the youth’s bio and statements here

Below is the testimony / call for a walk out by Alaa Mukahhal, given at the public hearing on Secure Communities in Chicago, August 17th, 2011. After this call, over 300 people walked out of the meeting to join a civil disobedience by undocumented students outside. 

"My name is Alaa and I’m undocumented. Today, I am here for my mother and father who spent the last 18 years living in anxiety and fear, afraid that our family is next. I’m here for my mother who when I told her about Secure Communities becoming mandatory, she put her head in her hands and asked me “When are they going to leave us alone?” I sat there and I listened to her tell me all the friends and family she knew who were caught and deported. They weren’t criminals; they were fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. You would never accept this life for yourselves or for your families, so why would you accept it for your neighbors and communities?

Enough! Enough with the lies to us and to yourselves that somehow you will fix something that is designed to deport our families.

I can’t in good conscience stay at a hearing that’s a front for something so irreparable and insecure. Sometimes words are not enough, hearings are not enough, press conferences and speeches are not enough. I am here today with my undocumented friends, because there comes time when we need to take greater action. We are tired of fear, and today, today we will break that fear from Secure Communities. I and five others are going to walk outside of this building right now.

We are going to intentionally block traffic and put ourselves under arrest, knowing full well that under Secure Communities, this act of protest, this minor offence, will mean that that we could get placed in deportation. This is the risk that immigrants all across the country take every day.

We ask the community to follow us outside, and we ask the people on the task force to have courage for your communities and do the right thing. We resign from this hearing, we think you should resign too and join us outside. We have letter demanding the resignation of the task force signed by over 150 organizations nationwide. We will walk out because we are undocumented unafraid unapologetic. Join us!"

(mainstream news video report) 

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