“We haven’t lost the war; we just lost a battle,” announced Abril Gallardo of the Arizona Center for Empowerment, following yesterday’s tied Supreme Court decision on DAPA and DACA+. “The 4-4 decision will allow us to explore other legal options, and we’re not giving up.”
Gallardo was speaking on June 23 to a crowd of activists, immigrants and media gathered in solidarity after the disappointing decision that currently blocks DAPA and DACA+ from moving forward.
Nearby, protesters braved the blazing heat, marching down the Phoenix streets chanting “Obama entiende el pueblo se defiende!” and holding signs that read “Dismantle ICE.”
Viridiana Hernandez, executive director of Center for Neighborhood Leadership, was arrested along with her mother at the civil disobedience protest.
“My heart is broken for the millions of children, like my little brother and sister, who will go to bed once more tonight, wondering if they will see their mothers or fathers tomorrow,” Hernandez said following her arrest. “My mom, Berta Rita Hernandez, is one of the millions of individuals who would have qualified under this Executive Order (DAPA). She has been living in the United States for the past 23 years and has raised hard-working, loving children who live to serve our community. It is due to her courage that instead of feeling defeated, today we come together once more as a community and affirm that the struggle for family unity and human dignity continues.”
A vigil was held last night outside Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix in support of Hernandez and the other community members arrested. People danced on the sidewalks to Mexican music. Social media sites buzzed with statements of strength and solidarity: “Nothing kills our spirit! Staying strong.” “Si se puede!” “You can do it! Fight for justice!”
“We will continue the fight to stop racial profiling of immigrants, dismantle ICE, and end all deportations,” Hernandez said.
The Supreme Court ruling came just before the news that the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union – a shocking decision that was largely fueled by anti-immigrant sentiment in Britain. Many worry that the U.K.’s decision bodes ill for the upcoming election in the U.S., where anti-immigrant fervor has also reached a fever pitch.
“This [Supreme Court] ruling is proof that the outcome of the 2016 election is more critical now than ever,” announced Petra Falcon, executive director of Promise Arizona. “Our country needs a President and a Congress with the courage to protect immigrant families. Our country’s voters, including its nearly 29 million Latino voters, must send the message in November that it’s time to tear down walls and open our hearts and minds and work together to build up America.”
In the meantime, sign this letter to send a message to President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to stop deportations and the separation of families.