Immigration Activists Continue to Fight on All Fronts

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 October was a busy month on the streets for comprehensive immigration reform backers—but it was quiet in on the floor of the House. While pro-immigrant lawmakers and their supporters keep putting pressure on Congress to pass overhaul legislation, record-setting numbers of detentions and deportations of immigrants continue. But so do actions that challenge the way immigrant communities are targeted.

Thousands of people in about 150 cities participated in mobilizations on October 5, calling for Republicans to move forward on the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. That was followed by a civil disobedience in Washington, D.C. on October 8, in which 200 people were arrested—including eight members of Congress. President Obama has also spent a good amount of time talking about immigration: Immediately after the debt crisis was averted in October, the president made clear, through a series of statements and interviews, that immigration was once again a priority. And time and time again, Obama has squarely put the onus on the House Republicans that he says won’t give comprehensive immigration reform a chance to go through.

But it’s Obama’s own administration, and not Republican lawmakers, that has deported a record number of immigrants. And activists are also taking that record to task. About 250 people converged in Arizona in mid October to participate in a series of direct actions aimed at shutting down Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations. After returning home from Arizona, activists in San Francisco were inspired to block a deportation bus—all the while calling on Obama to put an end to deportations. It’s rumored that similar actions to stop ICE in its deportation tracks—at least temporarily—are being planned.

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