[Pnews] “ICE Is Sending Us a Message”: Activist Maru Mora Villalpando on Being Targeted for Deportation

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jan 19 14:19:06 EST 2018


  “ICE Is Sending Us a Message”: Activist Maru Mora Villalpando on Being
  Targeted for Deportation

January 17, 2018

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

*AMY GOODMAN:* This is /Democracy Now!/ We end today’s show with 
undocumented activist Maru Mora Villalpando. Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement have placed her in deportation proceedings, in a move she 
calls retaliation for her political activism. Maru is a nationally known 
immigrant rights activist who leads the organization Northwest Detention 
Center Resistance. She has engaged in multiple acts of civil 
disobedience to protest deportations and immigrant detentions of others. 
She says, only days before Christmas, she received a “Notice to Appear.”

We go now to Seattle to talk with Maru Mora Villalpando.

Welcome back to /Democracy Now!/ What exactly—what message did you get 
from ICE, Maru?

*MARU MORA VILLALPANDO:* Good morning, Amy. I received a certified mail 
letter to my house, which is called “Notice to Appear,” that lists my 
name and the fact that I overstay a visa, my last entrance to the United 
States in 1996. And it says that they’re beginning deportation 
proceedings against me. The unusual part of the letter is that it 
doesn’t have a date for a hearing, and just the fact that I got it to my 
house. I don’t have any bills to my name. I’ve never had interactions 
with ICE that would lead to my deportation proceedings. I never had any 
interactions with police that would later involve ICE. So, altogether, 
it’s very strange.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Why do you think this is happening now, Maru?

*MARU MORA VILLALPANDO:* Well, I mean, we’ve been saying this since the 
end of the Obama era. We have a deportation machine that has grown 
incredibly big. And when he was leaving, he had the opportunity to stop 
it, but instead gave the keys to this fascist regime, that has utilized 
it in so many different ways. For us, it’s clear that although their 
actions against immigrants, starting with their campaign, actually 
hitting Mexicans has grown. But we still fight. We still resist. And we 
have been winning. So we believe that ICE is really sending us a message 
to stop our political activity, to stop our activism. When I saw that 
letter, I immediately knew what it was. And I laughed to myself, because 
I felt, “They are sending me a message. They want me to stop. And I 
won’t stop.”

*AMY GOODMAN:* Talk about when you came out as undocumented in 2014, 
what happened and how you feel this connects to then. That was during 
the Obama administration.

*MARU MORA VILLALPANDO:* That’s right. Back in February of 2014, we did 
our first shutdown action in Tacoma, Washington, to bring attention to 
these horrible detention centers, like so many others—too many—around 
the nation. And it was part of this #Not1More campaign at the time, that 
was precisely having people, undocumented people, bringing attention and 
also putting ourselves on the line, saying, “If the system doesn’t stop, 
we will stop it.” So, it’s clearly a connection that the system doesn’t 
want us to continue fighting, and they’re doing everything they can to 
stop us.

We believe that ICE was created with a specific intention. It’s not only 
to deport people. It’s to destroy people. They are destroying our 
families. And now they’re becoming into a full circle to be part of the 
police regime. We think ICE is nothing but a political oppression 
apparatus. They’re Trump’s police now.

*AMY GOODMAN:* We’ve had you on. We’ve had your daughter on, Maru. What 
are your plans now?

*MARU MORA VILLALPANDO:* We are going to continue fighting, my daughter 
and I. She was with me when I received the letter. She actually opened 
the letter. She was really angry. She said, “I can’t believe there’s 
people around that doesn’t—they don’t want to understand this is 
happening and how this is becoming a nightmare.”

But we decided to fight back. We decided we’re not going to hide, we’re 
not going to be afraid, because that’s what the system wants. That’s 
what ICE wants us to do. And instead, we’re going to fight back.

*AMY GOODMAN:* And do you have a time that you have to, quote, “check in”?

*MARU MORA VILLALPANDO:* We haven’t received anything. As a matter of 
fact, my lawyer requested a form, which ICE has to submit to the court, 
to the immigration court, saying why they want me to go to a court 
hearing and why am I being placed in deportation proceedings. ICE denied 
that letter, and my lawyer had to submit a Freedom of Information Act. 
And as of now, when I call the system on the phone, there’s nothing 
about my case. There’s no hearing date yet.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Finally, I mean, you have lived in this country for, 
again, over a quarter of a century. Do you see a connection between your 
case and the two cases we’ve just looked at—Jean Montrevil, who’s just 
been deported to Haiti yesterday, and Ravi Ragbir, who’s in detention 
and deportation proceedings in Florida, from New York, both immigrant 

*MARU MORA VILLALPANDO:* Absolutely, absolutely. We believe this is a 
clear targeting of people that have dared to not only question the 
system, but to fight the system, that we are outspoken, that we are 
public about it, that we’re not afraid. And it’s obviously clear that 
they’re going after us right now.

They will go after many others, not only undocumented, but documented, 
and even possibly U.S. citizens. Remember, Department of Justice is 
saying they’re going to review, along with Homeland Security, 150,000 
records of U.S. citizens, naturalized, thinking that they’re going to 
revoke some of those citizenships.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Maru Mora Villalpando, I want to thank you for being with 
us—that does it for our show—speaking to us from Seattle.

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