Last Tuesday youth members of Statewide Just and Humane Immigration Reform (SJHIR) – a project of our partners the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) – called on Congress to enact Just and Humane Immigration Reform.
As more than 100 students, parents, clergy, and immigrant rights organizations looked on, a dozen members of SJHIR staged an ICE raid in front of the downtown Los Angeles ICE holding facility and shed their professional outfits for orange prison jumpsuits representing the backwardness of enforcement-only measures in the United States. With a rally, a press conference, and a call for action, SJHIR kicked off a state-wide campaign calling for an immediate stop to the ICE raids and movement forward of a just and humane immigration reform bill in 2009.
The event included moving testimonies from students whose lives have been directly affected by our currently broken immigration system. Especially powerful was the speech given by Kevin, a 12-year old Peruvian boy who is a U.S. citizen but whose father was recently deported during an early-morning ICE raid. He read excerpts of a letter he wrote to then President-Elect Barack Obama.
“I have lived a simple life, the life of a boy with big dreams. Then my father was taken away and all my childhood dreams came crashing down. Please help my father who has lived in the U.S. for 17 years come back to us.”
FIRM supports CHIRLA’s call for just and humane immigration reform now. We cannot wait to help these students, their families and their communities. Call Congress at 1-888-828-0498 and let them know you want just and humane immigration reform, not raids, NOW.