EDITOR’S NOTE — On Monday afternoon, Latino Rebels received the following media release by the Seed Project (for audio of our Sunday conversation with them, click here).
Washington, DC – Seven DACA beneficiaries and one ally were arrested Friday, calling on leaders from both parties to ensure votes needed to pass a Clean Dream Act. They are now entering day 4 of incarceration and continue to be on a hunger strike. With every day, there is an increased risk of detention by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE).
“We have seen this before, empty promises from both political parties. I remember being in the Senate gallery in 2010 as members of both parties voted down the DREAM Act. We had assurances from Democratic leaders that they would whip the votes. We had sympathetic meetings with Republicans who said they believe we deserve an opportunity,” reminisced Juan Pablo Orjuela. “I am now standing outside of the jail where my friends were taken, where they are exposed to the deportation machine now under control of President Trump. DACA is no longer a protection for me, it is no longer a protection for the seven who are detained. Sen. Schumer and Rep. Curbelo have the power to assure the votes needed but instead of using it, they choose to delay and make empty promises. Sen Schumer, Rep Curbelo, will you continue to stand by as my friends are at risk of deportation or will you have the courage to force your colleagues to do what you know to be right? Will you continue to delay as I count down the days until I am forced back into the shadows to live in fear of being torn from my family and community?”
“We have been in jail for 4 days now. We haven’t eaten since Friday morning. We are tired. Our parents and communities are worried about us. But I am willing to risk deportation because I have nothing else to lose,” said one of the Undocumented Youth. The youth are demanding that Senator Schumer publicly confirm that he has the votes to block any spending bill that does not include a clean Dream Act. “We are willing to risk it all. We are asking Schumer – what are you willing to risk?”
“Some say that we can wait to pass legislation. But every day the Dream Act does not pass, more undocumented youth are at risk of detention and deportation. There is no time to waste. We need permanent protection now.” said another of the Undocumented Youth.
All eight individuals arrested were brought before a judge and charged with unlawful entry. We have reason to believe that D.C. Pre-Trial Services contacted ICE regarding one Undocumented Youth’s immigration status. There is a concern surrounding further ICE communication and engagement for the other youth as the days go by and they continue to be in police custody. One of the youth incarcerated has been reported as Erika Andiola, former press secretary for Bernie Sanders and a DACA recipient.
All eight incarcerated have made a decision not share personal information and we will not cooperate until Sen Schumer and Rep Curbelo publicly confirm they have the votes to block any spending bill that does not include a clean Dream Act. Until then they are willing to stay in jail and will continue to hold a hunger strike while calling on others to take action.
Dreamers incarcerated are making a sacrifice and risking their status, deportation, and their health to protect the 800,000 Dreamers in the country. Individuals are expected be brought up before a judge Tuesday morning.