On March 11, close to 100 people rallied against deportations in NYC and denounced the ongoing war on migrants in the United States. Migrant Power Alliance (MPA), a new and emerging coalition founded by Families for Freedom and several other groups launched their first action against deportations in front of Varick Street Immigration Court. On the same day, Puente Movement in Arizona along with other groups in numerous cities across the US also protested the mass deportation program that continues to target non citizens all across the country under the Obama Administration. MPA in addition to rallying against deportations also exposed New York Senator Schumer’s acceptance of thousands of dollars from the pro-immigration detention lobby funded by the major detention corporations CCA and GEO. Schumer received in 2012 alone, $64,000 from lobbyists Akin Gump et al, and $2,500 from Mehlman Vogel, $34,500 from FMR (Fidelity), which owns 5.09 percent of CCA and 8.67 percent of GEO. MPA strongly believes it’s unacceptable and unethical that the main sponsor of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill be so intimately tied to the immigration detention lobby.
Protesters held signs such as, “Who’s side are you on Schumer?”, “Stop Separation of Families”, “No Human Being is Illegal”. Several directly affected family members spoke out at the rally such as Mrs. Morrison who’s husband has been in immigration detention for close to 2 years. Mrs. Morrison was accompanied by her 3 year old daughter who has rarely seen her father, he was detained when she was only 1 year old. Mrs. Morrison stated with tears in her eyes, “I drive 4 hours to see him, and I only get to see him for 30 minutes, through a glass window, it hurts, it really hurts”. Other speakers included, Annabelle Sibayan, a Philipina migrant who was trafficked to the United States, endured trauma from the experience and is currently in deportation proceedings. Since President Obama took office, he has been responsible for 1.5 million deportations, the most of any other U.S. President. In addition, over $18 billion have been allocated to enforce immigration laws, more than all other federal agencies combined. MPA will continue to fight against deportations and expose the harmful affects that could be brought on by a punitive CIR bill and is committed to elevating the voices of those directly affected by unfair immigration laws.