Photo: Erika Andiola and Mother
The Dream Action Coalition denounces the Obama adminstration, and in particular, Secretary Napolitano for making statements in which she is defending the detainment of the mother of prominent immigration activist Erika Andiola. Napolitano told Phoenix NBC affiliate KPNX that Maria Arreola was a priority case because of a previous deportation and traffic ticket. This all cuts directly against the priorities outlines by the ICE.gov website.
Erika’s mother detainment happened quickly enough that, by the time everyone in the immigrant rights movement found out what was happening, Erika Andiola’s mother and brother was already on her way to Mexico. Fortunately, the community, DREAM and immigrant rights movement responded with efficiency and strength.
If you were to assume that this isn’t the standard practice for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) you’d be correct: this was the result of a political pressure campaign that took place at several different levels where calls were made by Congressmen and social media instantly lit up in response to a tearful plea from Erika, one of the best-known organizers within the immigrant rights community. This context makes Janet Napolitano’s recent statements difficult to believe, as they are so inconsistent with common sense.
Maria Arreola, a cancer-surviving domestic-violence-surviving Mexican grandmother, is neither a national security risk, nor a risk to the public safety. The worst they have on her, besides her status, is a speeding ticket: she doesn’t fall into any category of the declared priorities. As the matriarch of her immigrant family, she’s been in the country for over a decade supporting herself and her children, organizing birthday parties for nieces and nephews and working hard to make ends meet. If anything, as the head of her family, ICE would be less inclined to target her because of her extensive ties with the community.
We ask the Obama adminstration, and particular Napolitano, to stop the detainment and separation of families while we fight for immigration reform. No more excuses!