August 31, 2017
Chicago—A few hundred people demonstrated Aug. 31 outside the downtown offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We were supporting Genoveva Ramirez and all others being threatened with deportation. The demonstration was brought together by Organized Community Against Deportation (OCAD), and included representatives from SEIU, Jobs with Justice, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and Black Youth Project 100 along with many community members and church groups.
Ramirez, a 63-year-old grandmother from suburban Chicago, has lived in the U.S. for 13 years. She has no criminal record, but fell into the clutches of la migra four years ago after a minor traffic stop. Since then she has had a stay of deportation.
With three generations of family present, including very young grandchildren, it was painfully clear how outrageous and disruptive this threat of her deportation is.
Signs said “ICE: Stop trying to destroy our homes and families” and “Immigrant Rights = Workers’ Rights = Human Rights.” Chants included “Aquí estamos y no nos vamos!” and “No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here!”
FROM BAD TO WORSE WITH TRUMP
Speakers emphasized how the Trump administration has made a bad situation even worse. As alderman and immigrant rights lawyer Carlos Ramirez-Rosa pointed out, “Chicago ICE director Ricardo Wong has suddenly changed his mind about halting these deportations. What has changed? The law hasn’t changed. What has changed are the racist and xenophobic policies coming from the Trump White House.”
The speaker from BYP 100 emphasized the need for solidarity between Black and Latino people in regard to immigration rights, as well as opposition to racist police and the prison industrial complex.
One union member told News & Letters, “Our struggle is about all working people being able to live good lives. That isn’t just about economic justice, it’s also about racial justice and human rights. You’ve got to do it all.”
A FIGHT FOR LIFE AND DIGNITY
Another demonstrator said that while many people in the community are feeling depressed about the current situation, “That makes it even more important for us to keep fighting.”
After being kept waiting for hours, Genoveva Ramirez was told to report back at the end of September with a ticket out of the U.S. She was told that ICE could have had her deported immediately, had they chosen to do so. Her lawyer will appeal.
OCAD is requesting supporters to deluge ICE director Wong with calls in support of Genoveva Ramirez (A098-928-516), Anibal Fuentes-Aguilar (A087-489-011), Felipe Diosdado (A078-144-677), Marlon Vallecillo (A077-451-267), and Dina Alvayero (A200-815-633). Tell Wong to stop these deportations, along with all others. We support these members of our community. ICE’s number is (312)347-2400—then press 0.
—Immigrant rights supporter
Photos courtesy of Organized Community Against Deportation