That’s the cry of thousands of immigrants who have been carrying out almost 100 activities in various cities since April 5 as part of a campaign named after the slogan. Its purpose is to convey their indignation and pain to Congress, especially to Barak Obama, the former “Sí, se puede” president lamentably transformed into the “Deporter-in-Chief.”
For that purpose, a group of families in Washington will remain indefinitely in Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, to express to the president their repudiation of the cruel policy of massive expulsions and family separations that has characterized his administration.
“The idea is to pressure Obama so he will use his powers to stop the deportations and extend the deferred action granted to the DREAMERS to their parents and other immigrants,” says Francisco Pacheco, West Coast coordinator of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). “There will be no immigration reform. The Republicans are not willing to give in. Obama is the only alternative.”
“The only thing I ask is to get my son Jaime back,” says José Valdez, who traveled to Washington from Arizona to join the protest.
“I need my husband. My daughter doesn’t know her father,” says Naira Zapata, who is also in the group camped on the park.
The protests are not limited to Washington.
Lucía M. Quiej de la Cruz is a 38-year-old Guatemalan immigrant who has nothing except her five children and a long history of poverty.
Exploited in her native country, Lucía continues to be exploited in Homestead, 30 miles south of Miami, 21 years after she emigrated filled with hope. There, thousands of Mexicans and Central Americans barely survive, working in tropical plant nurseries, doing construction work or cleaning hotels and restaurants.
Two years ago, her husband, Andrés Jiménez, was deported, leaving her as the only support for her children — 14, 11, 10, 7 and 2 — all born in the United States. Her situation became desperate.
“I was one month pregnant and they deported him only because he didn’t have a driver’s license,” Lucía recalled sadly as she too part in a vigil against the deportations. “There’s a lot of people here with ankle monitors, many children whose parents were taken away by Immigration. In Homestead, there’s nothing; only despair.”
Jonathan Fried, executive director of We Count!, a pro-immigration organization based in Homestead that organized the vigil, agrees with Lucía.
“To me, immigration reform is dead. The feeling here is that nothing is going to happen,” says Fried, who adds that it’s not unusual for agents of the hated ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to appear at 5 or 6 in the morning, banging on doors and shouting, and entering people’s homes, often without permission. “It happened this very week,” he says. “They say they’re coming to get one person but they take away two or three.”
That is why “we support all national campaigns to pressure Obama,” Fried says.
Fried refers to NDLON’s “Not One More Deportation!” and the Obama Legacy Project, promoted by Presente.org, an online organization that posits that Obama, who has deported 2 million immigrants, could be remembered as the worst president on immigration issues in the history of the United States.
Presente.org maintains that Obama could still rescue his legacy if he stops the deportations, meets with the families separated by his policy, and cancels the badly called Safe Communities program, which reportedly has created a real epidemic of racial discrimination by the authorities.
“The president has to choose very soon how he wants to be remembered,” Pacheco says.
Meanwhile, while Obama decides what to do, time goes on and Lucía, her five children and long poverty can only hope for a miracle.
“I ask my God every day to return my husband to me,” she says.
[Photo above courtesy of ICE.]