Photo: Eloy Detention Center (Janna Rearick / Human Rights Watch)
Activists and leaders of efforts to defend immigrants on Wednesday in Phoenix began a march that will end on April 5 at Arizona’s Eloy Detention Center, where they will demand an end to deportations and approval of immigration reform.
“We must fight. It’s unfair that so many people are in jail just for wanting to work and earn money for their families,” Martha Espinoza, 63, told Efe as the procession prepared to leave Phoenix.
Espinoza, who was born in Veracruz, Mexico, and has been living in the United States for 14 years, was detained last year during a workplace raid carried out by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
She spent three months in jail and was later transferred to a detention center.
Guatemalan immigrant Anselma Lopez also will participate in the march and said that she is carrying the photograph of her son Elder Gomez, who has already been in the Eloy Detention Center for two years.
Lopez was also part of a group of demonstrators who last month staged a hunger strike in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix.
“We’re ready not to eat, to walk, to do whatever it takes to get him out of that place,” Lopez told Efe.
“There are thousands of families like mine who are separated, who are suffering. So, we’re asking President Obama to stop the deportations. We’re not people who came here to hurt anyone, we just want to work freely,” she emphasized.
The march participants will walk approximately 70 miles during the next three days.
“We’re fed up with so many deportations. We did the hunger strike and we didn’t get any results. Now we’re marching, we’re not going to give up,” Lourdes Hernandez, a mother of four whose husband is currently being held in the Eloy Detention Center, told Efe.