Here is what we know right now: according to the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Arizona Daily Star, “U.S. Marshals and security officers were trying to remove immigration activists who blocked the main exit of Tucson’s federal courthouse this morning to keep a bus that returns deported individuals from leaving.”
There are a few live streams of the action, from NDLON and Puente AZ, some of the action’s organizers:
Additional photos of the action can be found here.
The Arizona Daily Star added the following:
About two dozen demonstrators were gathered on the east side of the courthouse about eight this morning. Six of them formed a human chain, blocking the driveway to the courthouse at the corner of West Congress Street and South Granada Avenue.
The demonstration is the latest confrontation between immigration rights activists and Tucson authorities this week. On Tuesday night up to 100 activists tried to keep Border Patrol agents from taking two men from a traffic stop Tucson police had made on the city’s south side. In that incident, activist surrounded a Border Patrol vehicle with a human chain and eventually were dispersed by police using pepper spray. Four people were taken into Border Patrol custody, and the driver received a civil traffic citation.
Activists later said they intended to disrupt more immigration-related stops and activities to better highlight the frequency in which people in Tucson are being separated from their families by deportation.
Here are some of the most recent tweets:
— Elizabeth Ferrari (@48thAve) October 11, 2013
— Perla Trevizo (@Perla_Trevizo) October 11, 2013
Lots of young people wearing backpacks at streamline shutdown. Civil disobedience is the best education. #not1more
— alison w (@alison_would) October 11, 2013
Organizers also shared this press release with Latino Rebels around 12:30 ET today:
SJPers Locked Down in AZ Migrant Justice Action
Contact: Danya Mustafa: firstname.lastname@example.org / 505-850-9554
TUCSON (AZ)—More than two dozen activists, two of whom are also members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), set off a coordinated action Friday morning, Oct. 11,2013, to stop Operation Streamline, the mass prosecution program that criminalizes, en masse, on average 80 (mostly Mexican and Central American) migrant detainees each day in Tucson.
Gabriel M. Schivone and Ryan Tombleson—both part of the University of Arizona’s SJP chapter—are participants in the action, which is organized into two groups. Ryan and other activists have locked themselves to the entrance of the courthouse where the Streamline buses carrying migrant detainees are taken for court proceedings. Meanwhile, Schivone’s group stopped the prison buses off the local I-10 freeway and locked themselves under and around the buses.
The activists aim to hold their positions indefinitely, stopping Streamline proceedings for the day. As federal and local authorities descend on the scene, today’s activists shout “Ni Uno Mas/Not One More!”, aligning themselves with the national campaign to end President Obama’s mass deportation policy.
Operation Streamline is all about besmirching migrants with criminal records instead of processing their cases through civil or administrative immigration courts, as has been done in the past. Much thanks to Streamline, now Latin@s represent more than half of all those sentenced to federal prisons. More than 200,000 people have been prosecuted through Streamline-related enforcement throughout the Southwest and interior since its onset in 2005—with 74,000 prosecutions in Tucson alone since it started here in Jan., 2008. The current “security” package of the latest immigration reform proposal intends to expand Streamline by 300 percent.
Schivone and Tombleson’s protests extend beyond the issue of U.S. immigration law and border enforcement policies. They would like to make it clear that a strike at such repressive U.S. immigration and border enforcement policies, and their corporate sponsors, is also a strike at the U.S. security relationship with Israel. Just take if from Arizona state legislators themselves, who affirmed in their unanimous Feb. 2012 resolution “Supporting the Nation of Israel”: “Israel receives vital military and security assistance from the United States, much of which, in turn, is spent here in Arizona with its defense contractors.”
The SJPers locked down in Tucson today wish to remind activists throughout the country that more traumatic and direct political action will be needed to stop government programs of death and suffering in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands and beyond, resulting from U.S. immigration and border enforcement policies. They call on SJP individuals, groups and supporters to join those in their local communities to resist these policies directly.