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href="https://www.democracynow.org/2018/1/17/ice_is_sending_us_a_message">https://www.democracynow.org/2018/1/17/ice_is_sending_us_a_message</a></font>
        <h1 id="reader-title">“ICE Is Sending Us a Message”: Activist
          Maru Mora Villalpando on Being Targeted for Deportation</h1>
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          <div id="reader-estimated-time"><span class="date">January 17,
              2018</span></div>
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            <p class="grey_description fine_print">This is a rush
              transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</p>
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              <p><strong><span class="caps">AMY</span> <span
                    class="caps">GOODMAN</span>:</strong> This is <em>Democracy
                  Now!</em> 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.”</p>
              <p>We go now to Seattle to talk with Maru Mora
                Villalpando.</p>
              <p>Welcome back to <em>Democracy Now!</em> What
                exactly—what message did you get from <span
                  class="caps">ICE</span>, Maru?</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">MARU</span> <span
                    class="caps">MORA</span> <span class="caps">VILLALPANDO</span>:</strong>
                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 <span class="caps">ICE</span>
                that would lead to my deportation proceedings. I never
                had any interactions with police that would later
                involve <span class="caps">ICE</span>. So, altogether,
                it’s very strange.</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">AMY</span> <span
                    class="caps">GOODMAN</span>:</strong> Why do you
                think this is happening now, Maru?</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">MARU</span> <span
                    class="caps">MORA</span> <span class="caps">VILLALPANDO</span>:</strong>
                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 <span class="caps">ICE</span> 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.”</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">AMY</span> <span
                    class="caps">GOODMAN</span>:</strong> 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.</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">MARU</span> <span
                    class="caps">MORA</span> <span class="caps">VILLALPANDO</span>:</strong>
                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.</p>
              <p>We believe that <span class="caps">ICE</span> 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 <span
                  class="caps">ICE</span> is nothing but a political
                oppression apparatus. They’re Trump’s police now.</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">AMY</span> <span
                    class="caps">GOODMAN</span>:</strong> We’ve had you
                on. We’ve had your daughter on, Maru. What are your
                plans now?</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">MARU</span> <span
                    class="caps">MORA</span> <span class="caps">VILLALPANDO</span>:</strong>
                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.”</p>
              <p>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 <span
                  class="caps">ICE</span> wants us to do. And instead,
                we’re going to fight back.</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">AMY</span> <span
                    class="caps">GOODMAN</span>:</strong> And do you
                have a time that you have to, quote, “check in”?</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">MARU</span> <span
                    class="caps">MORA</span> <span class="caps">VILLALPANDO</span>:</strong>
                We haven’t received anything. As a matter of fact, my
                lawyer requested a form, which <span class="caps">ICE</span>
                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. <span
                  class="caps">ICE</span> 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.</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">AMY</span> <span
                    class="caps">GOODMAN</span>:</strong> 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
                leaders?</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">MARU</span> <span
                    class="caps">MORA</span> <span class="caps">VILLALPANDO</span>:</strong>
                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.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p><strong><span class="caps">AMY</span> <span
                    class="caps">GOODMAN</span>:</strong> Maru Mora
                Villalpando, I want to thank you for being with us—that
                does it for our show—speaking to us from Seattle.</p>
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