Photo: Chicago, Pilsen - Rev. Jose Landaverde
Pro-immigrant groups are mobilizing to defend the Rev. Jose Landaverde, one of the most visible faces in the struggle to support undocumented immigrants in Chicago, given that he could be jailed for having interrupted a congressional hearing in Washington.
“The only thing that the father has done is to lobby for all of us, to save my husband from deportation,” said immigrant Alejandra Enriquez.
Eloisa Chavez said that Landaverde’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Mission in Chicago’s mainly Mexican Little Village neighborhood is the place that undocumented immigrants go to seek help.
Landaverde on Feb. 11 entered a congressional hearing in immigration and shouted “devil” at Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has presided over a record number of deportations.
“Just as I had her in front of me, I got mad and shouted that she was the devil,” Landaverde, one of 12 activists who took part in the protest, told Efe on Monday.
The other members of the group were removed from the room “and when I looked around me I saw I was alone and surrounded by 14 police officers who arrested me,” he said.
He and the other protesters were accused of interrupting a session of Congress and must appear next week before a federal court in the District of Columbia.
Landaverde said he didn’t have any money to pay for a lawyer and asked for a public defender to fight a federal charge that could mean up to six months in prison for him if convicted.
“I’m a little nervous because I don’t know what could happen, but I’m convinced that I did the right thing to put the problem of deportations and the need for an immediate moratorium in the forefront while the reform is being negotiated in Congress,” he said.
Landaverde, who has had several confrontations with the police and immigration agents during acts of civil disobedience in Chicago, said he was aware that his activism “can have consequences,” including jail.