On Monday, Kimberly Sotelo Ochoa, Dolores Lara Villegas and his U.S. citizen daughter from Washington and 31 other undocumented mothers, fathers, children, and students attempted to cross the border into the United States at the Otay-Mesa Point of Entry in San Diego, Calif. A crowd of over 300 supporters waited for their arrival. All 34 people crossing were detained for trying to reunite with their families and communities. More than 120 more undocumented people will attempt to cross the border later this week.
The border crossing, a part of the Bring Them Home project, is happening during an unprecedented moment when undocumented people across the country are taking their lives into their own hands.
Vigils were held yesterday in Yakima, Wash., and Portland, Ore. People gathered to support those still in detention and to call for their immediate release.
Bring Them Home is a cross-border response to the crisis of mass deportations in the United States. The project was initiated in July 2013 when the Dream 9, a group of undocumented youth, pioneered a bold new tactic to return to their homes in the US. They crossed the US-Mexico border into Arizona and voluntarily turned themselves into Border Patrol. Typically, this would result in immediate deportation. However, because of mobilization by their families in their home states and a huge outpouring of community support, the Dream 9 were released back to their families in the U.S. after just two weeks in detention.
This week, Bring Them Home is mobilizing their largest action yet. Primarily led by U.S.-based immigrant families and those deported from the United States, the action was supported by a network of DREAM activists (DREAMers), community allies, faith groups, and immigrant rights organizations.
“The goal of this action is to reunite 250 family members. The immigration system isn’t working. Borders have broken our families and communities. We will not wait for the government to tell us when we can reunite with our loved ones that have been deported. We are taking matters into our own hands,” says Rosario Lopez, an undocumented DREAMer leading the effort to Bring Them Home to the Northwest.
When pressed about whether people with criminal records should be allowed to return home, Rosario stated, “The real question is why people have been deported in the first place. If it weren’t for racist anti-immigrant legislation like Secure Communities, our families wouldn’t be be separated.”
Kimberly Sotelo Ochoa and Dolores Lara Villegas of Yakima, Washington, who were deported from the United States, attempted to return to their family in the Northwest today through Bring Them Home.
Rosario Lopez says, “At its heart we are talking about humanity and how we are treating each other. We believe all of the 2 million men, women, and children who have been deported since President Obama took office deserve to come home. We are doing this for all people who have been deported.”