Yesterday, October 17th, on the heels of actions in Arizona (Eloy and Tucson), to stop ICE deportation buses, a coalition of organizations in the Bay Area, did the same at the San Francisco Field Office of Immigration Customs and Enforcement.
Seven religious leaders from various denominations accompanied 10 undocumented young people and other allies, using their bodies to stop a bus full of shackled immigrant detainees. A dozen other clergy and religious leaders joined the crowd of over a hundred, shouting for an end to the deportations which inflict suffering and separation of 1000 families a day. The bus was stopped for 2 hours and, although initially threatened with federal felony charges, those who stopped the bus were released without citation.
These religious leaders join a growing “Not One More Deportation” movement across the country, to pressure the President to use his existing executive authority to “shut down” the deportation machinery – a move which will bolster efforts in Congress to win inclusive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented Americans.
The action was an important message to those detained and their families that there are people organizing and opposing the current system of mass deportation. It also sends a message to Congress and President Obama, that if they will not act to stop the deportations, the people will.
It was an honor for religious leaders part of the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights and Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy, part of the statewide network Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice- California (CLUE-CA), to participate.