#BringThemHome Update: DREAMers Detained by ICE After Crossing Border

Jul 23, 2013
8:59 AM

Yesterday, the National Immigration Youth Alliance and DreamActivist organized an action where several DREAMers who self-deported to Mexico, crossed the pedestrian crossing in Nogales, Sonora, and were detained by United States immigration officials. The action was part of a #BringThemHome campaign that highlights the 1.7 million people deported during the Obama administration by testing the government’s deportation policy. According to reports, “The deported students who tried to return home to their families today over the Nogales border were allowed to go through, but were immediately detained by ICE. There were supporters on both sides of the border cheering them on.”


The Associated Press wrote:

U.S. authorities have detained eight activists who asked to be allowed to re-enter the United States from Mexico on humanitarian grounds in a protest against American immigration policies.

Customs and Border Protection officials detained the activists Monday after they filed applications for humanitarian parole at the Nogales border crossing to try to return to the United States.

CBP officials said they could not comment on specific cases but under immigration law all applicants for admission bear the burden of proof to establish they are eligible to enter the country.

Domenic Powell, a spokesman for the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, said the group hadn’t been taken to a detention center as of Monday afternoon.

He said the alliance would continue to pressure federal authorities to let the eight activists “go back home” to the U.S.

Margo Cowan, a lawyer for the group, says she will file asylum applications on behalf of the activists if they are denied humanitarian parole.

Later on Monday, the Twitter profile of activist Erika Andiola tweeted that the DREAMers were detained at the Florence Detention Center:

A NIYA release shared the bios of five of the participants:

Claudia Amaro, 37, from Monterrey, Mexico moved to Colorado when she was thirteen years old. Her mother fled Mexico after her father was murdered and the family was threatened. In 2006, while living in Wichita, Kansas, Claudia’s next husband was detained while driving to work. ICE detained Claudia while interpreting for her husband. Living in Mexico has been hard for Claudia and her thirteen-year-old US citizen son. Finally, her mother gained legal status last year and was able to visit her grandson for the first time in seven years. Claudia is coming home to put the family back together that deportation tore apart.

Adriana Diaz, 22, from Mexico City, first came to Phoenix, Arizona when she was just four months old. Adriana graduated from Crestview Preparatory high school in 2010 with many accolades, including the Citizenship Award. To this day, two of her murals decorate its walls. Adriana left Phoenix three months before DACA was announced. She left because she was tired of living in fear under Arpaio, not knowing each night if her mom was going to come home. Once in Nogales, Adriana tried to go to school. Because she lived so long in the US, Mexico recognized her as a foreign student and would not accept her US degree. Instead of going to school, Adriana has been working with migrants at the Juan Bosco shelter in Sonora. Adriana is coming home because she has no memories in Mexico. Her entire life was in Phoenix—she has memories of school, birthdays, going to prom—even her partner of four years lives in Phoenix. Everyone deserves to come home.

Luis Gustavo, 20, from Michoacán, Mexico has lived in North Carolina since he was five years old. He graduated from McDowell High School. Luis left Marion, NC, in August 2011 with the hopes of being able to finally go to school in Mexico. Luis, not being able to stand being away from his family, tried to come home inJune 2012 when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was announced. Luis never made it; he was caught by border patrol. The responding agent sympathized with him, and filed for DACA on his behalf, but saw it rejected. Luis was subsequently deported. Desperate to come home, Luis attempted to re-enter three more times, and failed on each attempt. Luis is coming home to be with his mother, sister, and four brothers.

Maria Peniche, 22, from Mexico City first came to Boston when she was just ten years old. She graduated from Revere high school in 2010 and went on to attend Pine Manor College. By 2012, paying the high price of tuition became too difficult, and she dropped out. Three days before DACA was announced, Maria left for Mexico to continue her schooling. “Here in Mexico you can only do one thing, either work or go to school,” she said. Maria has had to put off her studies and work in order to provide for her family. Maria is coming home to provide for herself and her family, and pursue her education.

Ceferino Santiago, 21, came to Lexington, Kentucky, at the age of thirteen in order to be with his older brother, Pedro. Ceferino is a permanent part of the Lexington community; he helped paint a mural at one of the local middle schools. During high-school, Ceferino ran for the school cross country team and was honored as one of the program’s top student-athletes in 2010. After graduating from high school, Ceferino was forced to return to Oaxaca, Mexico because of an ear infection which required surgery that cost $21,000. Ceferino is coming home so he can be with his brother, his community, and to continue with his studies.

The campaign was very active on social media in the past 24 hours, and has earned the support of Illinois congressman Luis Gutierrez, who posted this on his Facebook site yesterday:


Others posted YouTube videos, like this one from the Los Angeles band Las Cafeteras.

Many in the immigrant activist community were supportive of the action, although some have raised questions.

The following Storify curated what people were sharing and tweeting online in the past 24 hours.