[Pnews] ICE Serves Deportation Notice on Undocumented Leader for Organizing Detained Immigrants

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 16 10:18:32 EST 2018


January 16, 2018

Contacts:

Maru Mora-Villalpando, targeted activist, maru at latinoadvocacy.org 
<mailto:maru at latinoadvocacy.org>

Tania Unzueta, Mijente, tania at mijente.net <mailto:tania at mijente.net>

Angélica Cházaro, NWDC Resistance, achazaro at gmail.com 
<mailto:achazaro at gmail.com>


ICE Serves Deportation Notice on Undocumented Leader for

Organizing Detained Immigrants

The recent deportation notice filed against Washington-based immigrant 
rights activist and mother, Maru Mora-Villalpando, is a clear sign that 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is turning into Trump’s secret 
police and silencing immigrants who fight back.


Press Conference Tuesday, January 16 at 9 a.m. at 1000 2nd Ave, Seattle, 
WA 
<https://maps.google.com/?q=1000+2nd+Ave,+Seattle,+WA&entry=gmail&source=g>


Seattle, WA -- The Seattle office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement 
(ICE) has served a “Notice to Appear,” otherwise known as a deportation 
notice, to Washington-based community activist and mother, Maru 
Mora-Villalpando. On Tuesday morning, Mora Villalpando and her 
supporters will announce the launch of efforts to fight her deportation 
and bring to light ICE’s threatening actions.


Mora-Villalpando, who has been called a “modern-day freedom fighter 
<https://southseattleemerald.com/2015/12/02/more-than-undocumented-modern-day-freedom-fighter-maru-mora-villapando/>,” 
leads Northwest Detention Center Resistance 
<http://www.nwdcresistance.org/>(NWDCR), an organization that was 
co-founded when immigrants held at the Northwest Detention Center began 
a series of hunger strikes in 2014 protesting their inhumane treatment. 
Since then, Mora-Villalpando has continued to support and amplify the 
organizing efforts against ICE and the GEO Group (the private contractor 
that operates the ICE facility, the West Coast’s largest) from within 
the Northwest Detention Center. Buoyed by the support efforts of 
Mora-Villalpando and the NWDCR, people detained continue their struggle 
to be heard and demand justice, with  nine hunger strikes at the NWDC 
between April and November of last year alone.


Government officials have been forced to take notice; two of Washington 
State's congress people have introduced federal legislation to reform 
detention, and Washington State's attorney general has sued the GEO 
Group, the private prison corporation that owns and runs the Northwest 
Detention Center alongside ICE, citing the hunger strikes as 
inspiration. Mora-Villalpando’s efforts have transformed the NWDC from 
an ignored facility in an out-of-the-way location to a key site of local 
resistance, with weekly rallies and vigils outside its gates.

Now, in an unprecedented and arbitrary act of retaliation ICE has chosen 
to target Mora-Villalpando directly, serving her suddenly with 
deportation papers. Immigrant rights organizers point to the targeting 
of Mora-Villalpando as a sign that ICE has gone beyond seeking to 
enforce the immigration laws. ICE is now purposely targeting people such 
as Mora-Villalpando who are organizing against the agency and the Trump 
administration’s racially-motivated deportation agenda.  “ICE only knows 
about me because of my political work,” explains Mora-Villalpando. “I 
have spoken out to defend immigrants in detention and shared my story as 
an undocumented mother 
<http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/11/living-under-threat-of-deportation.html>. 
I have sat in meetings with immigration officials and challenged their 
practices. They are an agency whose actions have already been 
devastating to my community. But with the letter they delivered to my 
house, they are showing themselves to be an agency that silences any 
opposition to their practices,” she concluded.


This is not the first time the Seattle ICE Field Office targets 
immigrants who speak out. Just this past December the Seattle Times 
reported 
<https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/ice-tracks-down-immigrant-who-spoke-to-media-in-sw-washington-you-are-the-one-from-the-newspaper/>that 
one of their interviewees, Baltazar Aburto Gutierrez, was detained by 
ICE agents who cited his recent appearance in that newspaper. Other 
activists across the country have also been targeted by the federal 
agency, including Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil 
<https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/12/nyregion/immigration-activist-deportation.html>, 
two leaders in New York’s immigrant rights advocacy community.


Tuesday’s press conference will also announce the filing of a series of 
Freedom of Information Act requests by the University of Washington’s 
Center for Human Rights to reveal the extent of the collaboration 
<https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/times-watchdog/washington-state-regularly-gives-drivers-info-to-immigration-authorities-inslee-orders-temporary-halt/>between 
the Washington State Department of Licensing and ICE, which may have led 
to ICE obtaining Mora-Villalpando’s home address and other personal 
information.

“We will not allow ICE to deport Maru. Not only because we value her, 
but because we cannot allow a government agency that is already cruel 
and damaging to our communities to also silence our stories and deter 
our organizing,” explained Tania Unzueta, Mijente Policy Director, and 
one of the first undocumented organizers 
<http://www.freedomfromfearaward.com/celebrate/iyjl/>to start the 
“coming out of the shadows” strategy that undocumented youth became 
known for in 2010. “It is clear that Maru’s deportation notice is part 
of a Trump agenda that punishes 
<https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/opinion/black-identity-extremism-fbi-trump.html>people 
who oppose it. We are marking the moment in time when ICE agents are 
becoming Trump’s police force and targeting voices that counter their 
agenda,” she concluded.


Mora-Villalpando has lived in the U.S. for over 25 years. She lives with 
her daughter, Josefina, who is a U.S. citizen, near Seattle, Washington. 
In addition to working with NWDC Resistance she is a founding member of 
the national Latinx organization, Mijente.


###


NWDC Resistance is a volunteer community group that emerged to fight 
deportations in 2014 at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center in 
Tacoma, WA. NWDC Resistance supports people detained who organized 
hunger strikes asking for a halt to all deportations and better 
treatment and conditions.


Mijente is a digital and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx movement 
building and organizing that seeks to increase the profile of policy 
issues that matter to our communities and increase the participation of 
Latinx and Chicanx people in the broader movements for racial, economic, 
climate and gender justice.

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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