Sunday, October 30, 2011

Undocumented Marquette Student Selected As Board Chair Of Voces de la Frontera In Wisconsin

Maricela Aguilar
President of the VDLF Board

Photo by HNG

New undocumented chairperson of Voces de la Frontera introduced during the 10th Anniversary Gala at Potawatomi Casino.

By H. Nelson Goodson
October 30, 2011

Milwaukee - Last Thursday, in a bold and unprecedented move Voces de la Frontera (VDLF) introduced their first undocumented Marquette student Maricela Aguilar, 20, as their President of the Board during the 10th Anniversary Gala. Aguilar who is a senior at Marquette University told the hundreds of atendees that she "is undocumented and unafraid to admit it," which makes her the first chairperson illegally in the country to lead a non-profit, workers right and immigrant rights organization in the country. Aguilar said, that she is learning the process of the board and is very happy to have been selected as President of the Board. She replaced former Chairman, Primitivo Torres several months ago.
Aguilar, a dreamer and a member of the Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) from VDLF has been instrumental in leading the Dreamer campaign to help push the passage of the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act national movement helped undocumented students throughout the nation to learn, recognize, and encouraged them to fight for their civil and constitutional rights bestowed under the U.S. Constitution, despite their illegal immigration status, which is only a federal civil offense and not a federal felony offense.
Aguilar made her undocumented status public several years ago, despite threats by the Obama administration push deportation proceedings against illegal immigrants, even if they were students.
VDLF is recognized in Wisconsin for their annual May 1st march for immigrant rights and gained national recognition for their March 23, 2006 massive march, a "Day Without Latinos" that drew an estimated 30,000 march participants to help defeat U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner's (R-WI) HR 4437, which would have criminalized anyone who helped an illegal immigrant. HR 4437 failed to pass in Congress.
Another group that was targeted by the Obama administration were the bread winners of families. Many bread winners (fathers or mothers) were taken into custody and their families suffered. The effect of those detentions and removals, Hispanic families and their children endured poverty conditions compared to counter parts of Black, White and other children in the U.S.
Last Summer on June 17, John Morton, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent out a discretionary memo to all ICE field office directors, special agents in charge and all chief counsel. The memo stated, that they may use or exercise prosecutorial discretion dealing with the apprehension, detention and removal of illegal immigrants. Their discretion should be limited or forego deportation proceedings against non-felony illegal immigrant offenders, students who were brought by parents to the U.S. when they were children and older illegal immigrants who had lived in the country for numerous years.
Instead, ICE and the Obama administration has focused on prosecuting those illegal immigrants who have been deported, but had decided to returned to the U.S. illegally once more, which federal prosecutions increased by 42 percent within the first two years, since President Barack H. Obama took office. The federal prison system reported an increase of incarcerations of illegal Hispanic convicted felons for returning to the U.S. after they were deported.
Within the last few years, a growing majority of federal inmates have been undocumented Latinos. The massive Hispanic prosecutions are contributed to Operation Cross Check, which targets repeated border crossing illegal offenders, including suspected illegal gang members, sexual crime offenders, drug related offenders and those who have been arrested for driving under the influence.
Overall, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 ICE's Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations removed 396,906 individuals, which is the largest number deported in the agency's history. Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence.
ICE hasn't included a report about the number of at least 300,000 non-criminal immigration removal cases that are pending and under review. A policy enforcement by the Obama administration to review pending non-criminal removal cases has yet to yield estimates of those illegal aliens being granted temperary stays and immigration court hearings.
So far, the Obama administration has deported more than 1 million undocumented immigrants.

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