July 09, 2012
While most pro-immigrant activists are focusing on educating people about President Obama's new immigration policy regarding DREAM Act students, which promises to stop the deportations of some undocumented youth, the local human-rights group Puente is advocating a halt to all immigration deportations.
And to convey that defiant message, Puente is planning to gather about 40 undocumented immigrants and travel via bus across the country, visiting cities in the Southwest along the way.
The trip will begin July 29 in Phoenix and end at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina, which is scheduled to begin September 4.
"[We're] challenging either places that have passed similar legislation [as Arizona's Senate Bill 1070] or [have anti-immigrant] sheriffs, or places that there is current [immigrant-community] struggle," says Puente organizer Carlos Garcia.
The "undocubus," as Garcia calls it, will include undocumented aliens who live in Arizona, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico.
The irony of a bus trip for aliens already at risk for being bussed to the the border if deported is intentional, according to Garcia.
The point? To show the Democratic Party that President Obama is as bad as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio when it comes to immigration enforcement.
After all, the activists correctly observe, the Obama administration has deported more than 1 million immigrants since 2009.
And if Obama wins a second term in November, another million could be shipped home.
One day before the "undocubus" departs, Puente will sponsor a "March for Dignity," beginning 9 a.m. at Phoenix's Indian Steele Park and ending at the local offices for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The demonstration will highlight the collaboration between local law enforcement and immigration officials in deporting undocumented immigrants, Garcia says.
Another twist could come if Sheriff Arpaio testifies in the federal racial profiling lawsuit Melendres v. Arpaio. The trial in Melendres is scheduled to start July 19 before Judge G. Murray Snow at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in downtown Phoenix.
Should Arpaio testify before the undocubus heads for North Carolina, its passengers will publicly out themselves as illegal in a demonstration to take place in front of the federal courthouse, as Arpaio is testifying.
They may be here illegally, but as the U.S. Supreme court recently noted, this is not a crime in and of itself.
However, in racial-profiling, Arpaio has violated the highest law in the land -- the U.S. Constitution. As Puente constantly reminds the public, Arpaio is the real criminal, not those in this country struggling to survive.