Local Immigrants’ Rights Advocates Return to City Hall; WCAT Supports Resolution

In June 2010, Ann Arbor community member, Lourdes Salazar Bautista, was detained for 1 month and given an order of deportation. Lourdes has lived in the United States for 14 years and has three daughters -13, 9 and 7 – and a brother that are United States citizens.

Facing a deportation date of December 27 of last year, Lourdes reached out to her community for help. The Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition For Immigrant Rights (WICIR) and the University of Michigan’s Social Work Allies for Immigrant Rights (SWAIR) responded by organizing ralliesvigils and a phone campaign to ICE and the Department of Homeland Security demanding that the agencies stop the deportation and apply prosecutorial discretion as Lourdes has no criminal record.

In early December, Lourdes, her family and community, WICIR and SWAIR, took the fight to Ann Arbor City Hall and the Washtenaw County Commission. Lourdes and her allies asked the local bodies to write a letter on her behalf demanding a halt to her deportation.

On December 17th, 10 days before her scheduled deportation, Lourdes and her family learned that her deportation had been postponed one year. The coalition of immigrant’s rights groups, students, the faith community, and Ann Arbor residents successfully secured letters of support from the Ann Arbor City Council, the Washtenaw County Commission, Senator Levin, Congressman Dingell as well as 2,500 petition signatures.

This injustice could not have been stopped without the commitment and work by a number of local area organizations and the willingness of people in Ann Arbor – including manymembers of the WCAT – to stand up for one of their community members.

Last night, WICIR and SWAIR returned to city hall to ask that the council adopt a resolution that calls for the federal government to end its war on undocumented immigrants. The WCAT will add its name to the list of area organizations that support the resolution and want to see an end to the persecution of our brothers and sisters in the community.

The resolution was passed 9-2.

WCAT’s Kevin Young delivered the following statement in support of the resolution last night (see below).

For more information and resources:

WCAT’s Diana Sierra ‘Community Mobilizes to Stop Deportation of Mother of Three’

http://www.zcommunications.org/community-mobilizes-to-stop-deportation-of-mother-of-three-by-diana-sierra

 Dream Activist: Undocumented Students & Resource Action Network

http://action.dreamactivist.org/

Alliance for Immigrant Rights and Reform – Michigan

http://www.michiganimmigrationreform.org/

——————–

My name is Kevin Young and I’m here to speak on behalf of the Washtenaw Community Action Team, which is an organization of Ann Arbor-area residents committed to working for justice in Washtenaw County and beyond. We strongly support the spirit of the resolution under discussion, which calls upon the federal government to end its war on undocumented immigrants. Under current laws, most of these immigrants have no realistic chance of “legalizing” their residence in this country in a timely way no matter what they do. If passed by the City Council, this resolution would constitute a firm statement on behalf of justice and human dignity.

We hope that the passage of this resolution will help expand the discussion on immigration in this country beyond its current, very narrow parameters, by countering the rhetoric that blames immigrants and shifting attention to the root causes of human migration, namely the staggering level of global inequality and the neoliberal economic policies promoted by our government overseas which result in further poverty, inequality, violence, and desperation.

At the level of Ann Arbor, we hope that this step by the City Council will help strengthen the community coalition dedicated to protecting the rights of immigrants and fighting for equality for all people irrespective of race or national origin.

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