Friday, August 2, 2013

Neumann-Ortiz, Founder Of Milwaukee's Voces de la Frontera Among 41 Arrested During D.C. Civil Disobedience Action

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Primitivo Torres and Francisca "Kika" Meraz

Photos: Facebook

Neumann-Ortiz, Torres and Meraz from Voces de la Frontera among 38 immigration reform activists and leaders of groups, labor and clergy arrested in Washington, D.C. during protest.

By H. Nelson Goodson
August 2, 2013

Washington, D.C. - On Thursday, Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the executive director and Founder of Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant and labor rights nonprofit organization in Milwaukee was arrested along with at least 41 activists and leaders from groups, labor unions and the clergy during an immigration reform protest. The protest was staged to push the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bill to allow more than 11 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. Thursday's protest and civil disobedience was planned to bring attention to the issue of passing an immigration reform bill and a forty day of action movement to rally support for immigration reform, which would most likely end targeted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids to separate families by deporting one or two undocumented parents. ICE deports an estimated 1,100 undocumented immigrants per day.
During the Obama administration's first term, about 1.5 million of undocumented immigrants, mostly without a criminal record were deported by ICE. By the time Congress reconvenes from recess, another 40,000 of undocumented immigrants will be deported,  according to protest organizers. 
Some of the arrests happened outside U.S. House Speaker John Boehner's office at the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C. during a sit-in and an earlier protest happened in the street where dozens of activists and AFL-CIO labor leaders, the Service Employees International Union, the United Farm Workers, the Campaign for Community Change and America's Voice, including the clergy sat in the street in front of the Capitol to block traffic, according to D.C. police. They were held between two to twelve hours, cited for blocking passage and fined up to $50. 

Photos: Courtesy of Fair Immigration Reform Movement

 Others arrested were:

● Theresa Navarro, president of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN)
● Bob Fulkerson, director of PLAN
● Jesusa Rivera from Indiana
● Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice
● Denise Lopez, Michigan United
● Allison Colberg, Michigan United
● Eliseo Medina, the international secretary treasurer of the Service Employees International Union
● Arlene Holt Baker, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO
● Phil Radford, executive director of Greenpeace
● Primitivo Torres, Voces de la Frontera, WI
● Francisca "Kika" Meraz, Voces de la Frontera, WI
● Jess George, executive director of the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte, N.C.
● Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America
● Gustavo Torres
● Petra Falcón
● Stephen Fotopulos of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
● Kica Matos, director of Racial Justice and Immigration Rights at the Center for Community Change
● Giev Kashkooli, Vice President, United Farm Workers
● Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice/American Rights at Work
● Andrea Cristina Mercado, National Campaign Director, National Domestic Workers
● Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center
● Miriam Yeung, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
● Angelica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
● Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director, Campaign for Community Change
● Ramon Ramirez, president of PCUN, Oregon
● Ryan Bates

Editorial note:

Engaging in civil disobedience has been a traditional strategic plan to get attention in many protests through the decades, but in reality a person gets booked, a mug shot is registered as well as being fingerprinted, thus a record of arrest is filed as a historic act. In many cases, it has very little effect or impact, other than getting an issue worth fighting for on the mainstream media headlines. But today's issue focused on immigration reform has most likely reached its peak, while the GOP conservative extremists continue to holdout and stall the passage of an immigration reform bill.
As some of Thursday's protesters have told media outlets that they have marched, voted, prayed, lobbied and staged protests in an attempt to pressure the GOP in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bill on immigration reform. But the GOP remains defiant and most likely will fail to pass a bill this year.
The united effort by some of these labor unions, clergy, activists and immigrant rights groups have been reaching their peak and have planned a 40 day action strategy around the nation, but not even one of them have noticed that the GOP will stand their ground unless forced to break their ranks of a traditional structure to vote in party lines.
A thought for those who are desperate to end the GOP stalemate, the time has come to dig deep in your pocket to get your dollar to do what it was intended to do and that is, to influence economic growth and well-being in the country and financial markets. The dollar has been very influential by keeping this country from a depression and we are gradually getting out of a recession. But in reality, it has been the undocumented immigrant spending dollar and tax dollar that has kept this country afloat in its most difficult times. The GOP is aware of it, but they fail to acknowledge it for one simple reason, Hispanics have yet to come into their own awareness and understanding that they have an economic power to influence change. Economic articles of the spending power and the ability that Latinos have in the country have been published to no avail. The time has come to channel that economic spending power to influence change.
Those who want change, need to channel their economic power to influence change. As united Latinos for a given cause (immigration reform), we need to spent our money where it is most welcome by those who support immigration reform and spent nothing at places that are hungry for our dollar, but use it against Latinos by supporting anti-immigrant bills and support the GOP stalemate in the U.S. House of Representatives. It's your choice, take action now and manage your spending economic power to influence change!
Next time you are out in public, "pin a dollar to your lapel to show that U.S. Hispanics and undocumented immigrants in the country have and will continue to support economically the financial well being of America. Where everyone benefits economically!"
For those labor unions, clergy, immigrant rights activists and groups, including organizations involved in the current immigration reform movement, what are you waiting for?, use your dollar to influence inevitable change!
¡Viva Nuestra Causa, Immigration Reform now! Obama, stop the ICE raids and separation of families!

Voces de la Frontera staff at Washington, D.C. immigration reform protest.

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