CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Two of the “implanted activists” released last week from an immigrant detention center in Florida were arrested in a protest to demand the release of at least 100 other detainees they say should be freed under the new guidelines announced by the Obama administration.
At least 150 people showed up outside the privately run Broward Transitional Center, in Pompano Beach, Florida, on Sunday to continue bringing pressure to bear on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Activists Viridiana Martinez and Marco Saavedra were released by ICE last Friday after spending weeks implanted in the detention center but they were arrested at the protest for blocking a public street.
Martinez and Saavedra, both undocumented immigrants, allowed themselves to be arrested by the Border Patrol to get inside the Broward detention facility to highlight ICE’s failure to comply with the administration’s stated policy of suspending deportation in many cases.
Once inside the center, the activists from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance collected information on the cases of undocumented immigrants whom they say should be set free according to the new guidelines recently announced by the U.S. government
Mohammad Abdollhi of NIYA confirmed Monday to Efe that Martinez and Saavedra will be released in the coming hours after they have posted bail.
ICE spokesman Vincent Picard said that the undocumented students will not be placed under immigration orders.
“What happened yesterday was a sign that we will continue the fight, because the community united in solidarity with their loved ones. We will not leave them alone until the authorities comply and release these immigrants,” said Abdollhi.
NIYA leaders last week released the results of the investigation carried out by the “implanted activists,” which found that at least six people inside the Broward Center have submitted requests for a U Visa and those procedures are under way and a dozen more are eligible for deferred action under the new Obama guidelines.
Also, more than 60 of the detainees at the center do not have criminal records, another three dozen can request discretion be applied in their cases and several immigrants require medical attention.
The group’s tactic seeks to prove that the immigration authorities are not complying with the directives of not detaining and deporting young people who are eligible for deferred action.
On June 15, President Barack Obama ordered the Department of Homeland Security to defer deportation of qualified undocumented immigrants 30 years old and younger who were brought to the United States before the age of 16.
The order was seen as a way of implementing the long-stalled DREAM Act.
That move followed new guidelines issued in August 2011 that called on ICE to give priority to deporting convicted criminals and people deemed to pose a threat to public safety or national security.
Cynthia Martinez, Viridiana’s sister, told Efe on Monday that her sister will not leave Florida until ICE releases immigrants like Inga Berysheva, a detained Ukrainian who qualified for political asylum.
“My sister will continue the fight until they set free many of those immigrants who should not be there, who are of low priority for the government, but who represent money for the managers of those private jails,” Cynthia said. EFE