On June 1, 200 people rallied at the White House to speak out against new deportations that are destroying the families of non-criminal immigrants. The crowd consisted of members and supporters of CASA, the leading advocate for immigrants in the D.C. area, members of Sanctuary DMV, an organization representing over 90 congregations that WES is a part of and a strong contingent of UU and other clergy leaders. Twenty protesters were arrested, including WES member Ross Wells. Patti Absher of WES also attended the rally.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized Lilliana Cruz Mendez at the Arlington ICE headquarters on May 18 when she reported for her annual check-in. She had been stopped by the police in 2013 for a broken tail light and did not have a driver’s license. She is undocumented and therefore subject to deportation. However, since she is the mother of two small children she was considered a low-priority for deportation and has reported to her annual ICE check-ins without incident. This time was different. She was separated from the people who were accompanying her and put in jail. Although Va. Senators Kaine and Warner spoke out against the deportation order and Gov. McAuliffe gave her a pardon for the traffic violation, she was put in prison and will be deported to El Salvador. There was no time to say goodbye to her two children or her husband. Her small income was critical to the family’s survival and the family is devastated.
ICE is no longer focusing on rounding up those who have committed serious crimes but has begun to expand a net to grab innocent people who have lived here for years without incident, regardless of their family status. If you would like to learn more about how you can support the sanctuary efforts of WES, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.