ICE Detained an Outspoken Activist, and I am Apprehensive About What It Means


On this op-ed, author and activist Danielle Campoamor reacts to the information that fellow activist Alejandra Pablos was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on March 7. She shares reactions from different activists within the reproductive rights group.

Within the third presidential debate, then Republican nominee Donald Trump infamously stated he would give attention to deporting the “bad hombres” and the “bad, bad people” first to safe the border. But one in all his first govt orders, according to a report from CNN, was to grant particular person immigration brokers a lot broader authority to detain and deport folks. Department of Homeland Security performing press secretary Tyler Houlton summarized this shift on March 2, when he advised reporters including from CNN, “We target criminal aliens, but we’re not going to exempt an entire class of (non)citizens.”

In consequence, the record of undocumented immigrants who’ve been detained or deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is broad and deeply troubling and now consists of outspoken reproductive rights and immigration activist Alejandra Pablos. She was detained on the morning of March 7, 2018, throughout one in all her commonly scheduled check-ins with ICE in Tucson, Arizona, according to a Rewire report. What she thought was a “good-faith” go to is now an indefinite detainment with no risk of paying a bond.

“I need you to fight for me. As I am fighting inside, you fight outside. They are retaliating against all activists and organizers,” Alejandra stated in a video posted to her Facebook page from contained in the ICE detention heart. She believes she was illegally detained as a punishment for her political actions and protests.

I met Alejandra a yr in the past at Advocates for Youth’s 1 in 3 Campaign’s annual Speakout, the place we shared our abortion tales and lobbied elected officers in opposition of the Republican health-care bill. We attended lobbying coaching collectively, and immediately, I used to be struck by her presence. From throughout the room I might sense a palpable, nearly defiant power clearly born out of necessity. And I’m not the one one who has been modified, for the higher, by her story, her tenacity, or her bravery.

Mallory McMaster is an activist with We Testify, a program of the National Network of Abortion Funds devoted to rising the variety of public abortion storytellers. She’s additionally a pal of Alejandra (who buddies typically name Ale). Mallory advised Teen Vogue by way of electronic mail, “I’m heartbroken about Ale’s detention. Ale is a friend and a pillar in my community. As a white person, knowing that other white people are unfairly targeting vocal immigration activists and locking them away indefinitely makes me sick.” One other We Testify activist, Holly Bland, stated, “She is such a supportive and model figure in my life and our community. She is always unapologetically herself, exhibiting endless bravery and beauty against all odds. Ale challenges me to be better for myself and to do better by others.”

Throughout a January We Testify press call, Alejandra defined how life as an immigrant affected her politics, saying, “Living in Arizona made it clear to me that families like mine weren’t safe; we weren’t guaranteed security. Every day I saw families being torn apart because of a piece of paper, documents they didn’t have. I saw parents being incarcerated and deported because there is no pathway to citizenship for most people. My views on reproductive justice and parenthood were informed by the sacrifices people made to flee their countries and risk their lives to come here for a better future.” Regardless of the private dangers, Alejandra used the horrors she witnessed to gasoline her social justice activism. And, as made apparent by these Alejandra has encountered, her activism evokes others to stay knowledgeable, engaged, and unwavering, too.

Aimee Arrambide, a fellow We Testify activist, advised Teen Vogue by way of electronic mail that she met Alejandra a yr in the past on the 1 in three Speakout. “Since then I have witnessed her steadfast commitment to fight for justice, despite the risk it meant for her personally. Her courage and unwavering dedication to secure human rights is an inspiration.”

The inspiration Alejandra embodies has rallied her group to struggle for her speedy launch, after what Yamani Hernandez, govt director of the Nationwide Community of Abortion Funds, described as an try to “dehumanize and criminalize people for fighting for their human rights.”

“By detaining Alejandra Pablos without bond the government is sending a message that it’s not safe to peacefully protest their brutal, xenophobic immigration policies,” Yamani wrote in an announcement emailed to Teen Vogue. “In this moment and every moment immigrant justice is bound with reproductive justice. We send love and support to Alejandra and to all undocumented people, of all ages, who have had their rights taken away as this government attempts to exercise control over our bodies.”

“My heart sank when I found out the news. Alejandra is a freedom fighter and does so much to support people in need,” Shivana Jorawar, a fellow We Testify abortion activist, stated by way of electronic mail. “She belongs with us and she deserves her human right to exist here, like everyone else.” Shivana is one in all many activists talking out about their relationship with Alejandra, what she means to them and her group, and in opposition to any sentiment that Alejandra in some way deserved to be detained.

Mijente, a nationwide hub for Latino and Chicano organizers in management, advocacy, and coverage change, issued a press statement on the case, which reads, “Pablos was a legal permanent resident who was placed in deportation proceedings in 2011 after substance-abuse related arrests and spent two years detained at the Eloy Detention Center in southern Arizona. Since her release she has been on probation and checking in with ICE frequently. She is in the process of requesting asylum based on dangers she would face as a political organizer in Mexico.” One in every of her fellow activists stated her work is pushed by a ardour for freedom.

“Ale is a freedom fighter. She fights for freedom for all of us. She believes that in order for her to be free we all must be,” Cazembe Murphy Jackson, one other We Testify activist, stated by way of electronic mail. “Her work ethic, commitment and courage all embody these beliefs. Ale fights like hell for all of us all of the time. Now is the time for us to fight like hell for her.”

After its report on her case, Rewire acquired an announcement from ICE on Alejandra’s arrest and detainment. An ICE rep told Rewire that the company doesn’t goal undocumented immigrants “for arrest based on advocacy positions they hold or in retaliation for critical comments they make.” Matthew Albence, govt affiliate director for enforcement and removing operations, additionally stated, “as ICE leadership has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of [unauthorized migrants] from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and—if found removable by final order—removal from the United States.”

Alejandra requested that supporters sign this petition demanding her release. On the time of publication, the petition had greater than 20,000 signatures.

What It’s Like to Be a Teen Living in an Immigration Detention Center