It’s Week 3 of August recess, and advocates of immigration reform are continuing to showcase their power by putting pressure on Members of Congress all over the country to support immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. The strength of our movement compared to the flailing efforts of our opponents received attention from the Atlantic’s Molly Ball this week (among others), who wrote a piece about how “Immigration Reformers Are Winning August.”
August, however, is just the beginning. When Congress comes back from recess this fall, they will be under ever-increasing pressure to pass immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. If House Republicans are under the impression that they can kill immigration reform and forget about it–or otherwise quietly let it die–they are in for a big surprise.
That’s why some of the most moving pictures from this week have come from escalation tactics and acts of civil disobedience from the last 24 hours. Last night, United We DREAM with the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition (their Arizona affiliate) detained a bus carrying deportees trying to leave Phoenix Removal and Detention Facility. Six DREAMers sat in front of the bus for more than two hours, before the bus finally retreated back into the ICE complex. Over one hundred people cheered them on until well after midnight. Two DREAM leaders were arrested during the civil disobedience, echoing the arrest of four others earlier that day, who had chained themselves to the ICE complex fence and shut down ICE operations.
This morning, a similar action took place in Manhattan, when protesters with the New York Immigrant Coalition, Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU Law, the Interfaith Center of New York, and Immigration Equality blocked the entrance of the Varick Street Detention Center, where many immigrant detainees in New York are processed for deportation. Ten were eventually arrested protesting against unjust immigration policies, and demanding that Congress act on immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. All of those arrested yesterday and today in Arizona and New York have since been released.
Today’s actions should serve as a serious wake-up call to Congress, of the different ways in which they will face immigration as an issue every day until reform passes.