Protesters Block Windsor Tunnel During Debate to Demand #DignityNotDeportation

Jul 31, 2019
7:38 PM

UPDATE, JULY 31, 9:45pmET:

Immigrant rights activists disrupted Joe Biden during the Democratic debate in detroit, unfurling a banner that read “Stop all deportations on day one.” They chanted “3 million deportations” referencing the growing calls for Biden to apologize for the 3 million deportations under the Obama administration.

DETROIT — Immigrants and allies blocked traffic at the Windsor Tunnel, an international crossing between Detroit and Canada, demanding 2020 hopefuls recognize the daily crisis of family separation and deportation that immigrants in Detroit and across the country are facing. The protesters called on Democratic candidates to commit to ending all deportations on their first day in office. Twenty-one people were arrested and hundreds are marching to the debate now.

“A vague commitment to support immigration reform is an empty promise that we cannot accept,” said Carlos Rojas, a Cosecha spokesperson. “The immigrant community has learned this lesson and we will not let candidates get away with another round of empty promises. We need to know that candidates are serious about solving the daily crisis undocumented workers and families have been facing for decades, and that means putting an immediate end to all detention and deportation on their first day in office.”

Movimiento Cosecha is a national movement to win permanent protection, dignity and respect for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, with organizing hubs in Detroit, Michigan and across the country.



“I live in Detroit, which is less than a mile from the national border with Canada,” said Cindy Gamboa, a Cosecha spokesperson from Detroit. “Living in a border city means increased ICE/CBP patrols in our community. Immigrants live in constant fear of being stopped by agents because of the color of their skin and once they notice you are driving without a driver license it very often it leads to detention and deportation.”

“Nearly every candidate has spoken out against the abuses immigrants are facing under the Trump Administration, but simply undoing the policies enacted by Trump is not enough. For decades, many in the Democratic Party have been complicit in attacks on the immigrant community. While Republicans fanned the flames of white supremacy with their anti-immigrant rhetoric, President Barack Obama campaigned on the promise of immigration reform but ended up deporting almost 3 million people—a record in our country’s history,” said Brenda Valladares, a spokesperson for the Cosecha Movement.

Earlier this month the Cosecha Movement launched the Dignity2020 Campaign, laying out an immigration platform for the Democratic Party and 2020 hopefuls that recognizes dignity for immigrant workers and families. The platforms calls for:

  • An end to all detention and deportation on Day 1 in office
  • Reunification of families separated by deportation under previous administrations
  • Immediate legalization of all 11 million undocumented immigrants

This action follows a wave of escalated actions demanding primary candidates adopt the demands of the Dignity Platform. In early July, immigrant families shut down Joe Biden’s headquarters in Philadelphia, demanding an apology for the families separated under the Obama administration, and for Biden to commit to the demands of the Dignity Platform. That same week, an immigrant rights activist whose brother was deported under the Obama administration confronted Biden in New Hampshire asking him to apologize and commit to ending all detention and deportation. Since then, several candidates and groups have called on Biden to apologize for his record. The Cosecha Movement will continue pressuring primary hopefuls to adopt the dignity platform as a new standard for any future leader of the party.

“We’re proud to work with Cosecha Movement to bring immigration issues to the forefront of the 2020 debate,” said CREDO Action campaign manager Thaís Marques. “Immigrants need real answers from the Democratic candidates on how they plan to undo the harm inflicted by both sides of the aisle and lay the groundwork to bring justice to the immigrant community after many years of detention and deportation under both the Trump and Obama administrations.”