Local activists call on President Obama to stop deportation raids | Triangulator | Indy Week
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Local activists call on President Obama to stop deportation raids 

We, uh, already know how Republican presidential frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz feel about the roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants residing in the United States.

Build a wall! Deport 'em all!

We also know that, last fall, North Carolina's Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a bill restricting municipalities from accepting a Mexican-government-issued photo ID that immigrants rely on for medical care, food assistance and school documentation. "He's good on immigration!" exclaimed noted deep thinker Ann Coulter on Twitter, proposing a Trump-McCrory ticket, which would be hilarious.

Earlier this month, our current president—the same one so roundly criticized for taking executive actions to help undocumented immigrants—angered many on the left by authorizing a series of raids targeting undocumented immigrants in the South: Texas, Georgia and, yep, North Carolina. President Obama's roundup netted at least 121 people and included children as young as 4 years old. Many had come to the United States fleeing cartel-related violence in Central American countries. The administration says the deportations will continue. Trump loves it. "It's about time!" he tweeted, claiming the move was the result of pressure he applied on the campaign trail.

Others are less jazzed. The Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN) has launched a petition asking Obama to halt the raids. At press time, it had about 66,000 signatures.

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, a delegation will travel to Washington, D.C., to deliver the signatures. At noon the same day, in a show of solidarity with SEIRN, the nonprofit group Student Action with Farmworkers is holding an event at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies (1317 W. Pettigrew St.).

"[Immigrant] workers are already in a vulnerable position in the workforce," says Nadeen Bir of SAF, which advocates throughout the Southeast for a more just agricultural system. "They're afraid of complaining about bad working conditions or inadequate housing, because they don't want to get deported. These [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] raids just add to that fear."

Also speaking at the event will be Beckie Moriello, a local immigration attorney who spent part of December assisting Central American families on deportation proceedings, and Yazmin Garcia Rico, the youth director for SAF. Rico came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico at the age of 13 and is able to stay here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order, a visa that can be renewed every two years.

"They have personal, firsthand experiences with these situations," Bir says. "They can speak directly about how this fear of deportation pulls us backwards as a country."

Reach the INDY's Triangulator team at triangulator@indyweek.com.

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