Chicago man arrested protesting Alabama immigration law

Chicago man arrested protesting Alabama immigration law
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*Updated information:

On Thursday evening, Tania Unzueta reported that 10 of the 12 arrested in Alabama were out of jail and were not detained by immigration officials. They expect the last two protesters to be released later Thursday evening. A minor, the 13th protester, was released after the initial arrest.

On Thursday morning, Tania Unzueta said they plan to post $500 bail for those arrested in Alabama, including her father. They hope they will be released some time Thursday, she said.

On Wednesday evening, ICE spokesman, Temple H. Black, sent me the following comment via email:

“ICE has not lodged detainers at this time.  ICE will follow routine procedures to determine if anyone in the group is subject to removal and assess where they lie on the list of ICE Civil Enforcement Priorities.”


Alabama has become the focal point in the national immigration debate and immigrant activists from around the country travelled there to protest at the state capitol on Tuesday.

A Chicago man, Martin Unzueta was among 13 undocumented immigrants arrested in Montgomery. He is the father of one of the DREAM activists and leaders of the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), Tania Unzueta, also of Chicago.

Mr. Unzueta is believed to be the first parent of a local Dreamer to be arrested for an act of civil disobedience. Three other parents from other states also were arrested.

Mr. Unzueta, 55, was still in jail as of Wednesday morning. Since he also is undocumented, he could face deportation.

“The police who arrested them said they would check their immigration status and if they are undocumented they would be turned over to ICE (Immigrations Customs and Enforcement),”  said Tania Unzueta, who spoke with me by phone from  Alabama, where she is waiting for news of her father.

Activists are confronting Alabama’s law that allows police to check the immigration status of those arrested.

“Is the government actually going to deport my dad?” asked Unzueta.

An ICE spokesman for Alabama on Wednesday morning said he had not yet heard about the arrests.

Youth activists are no longer just focusing on the DREAM Act, which has stalled in the U.S. Congress. They are protesting against state laws like Alabama’s as well as against the Secure Communities policy of the Obama Administration that has led to increased deportations. Six undocumented youth activists were arrested in August in Chicago and they have a court date in December.

“We’re using direct action as a tool to change anti-immigrant legislation (and policy),” said Rigo Padilla, also a leader with IYJL in Chicago.

The activists want to send a message to undocumented immigrants in the Alabama that they should not be afraid. Some immigrant families have left the state. Those who have stayed behind live with fear of driving and sending their children to school.

“If you come out as undocumented and you organize, you have power,” said Tania Unzueta, who also has committed civil disobedience.

Tania Unzueta, 27, was arrested in Arizona last year protesting at the office of Sen. John McCain. Her sister, Ireri, 24, also was arrested for civil disobedience in Washington D.C. last year and in Chicago this year.

In Chicago, there was a press conference Wednesday in support of Mr. Unzueta and those arrested in Alabama. Mr. Unzueta sent a letter to be read upon his behalf.

“I’m risking deportation because I’m tired of seeing the suffering of our children,” Mr Unzueta wrote.

Padilla said in a phone interview that immigrants in Illinois and across the nation want to show support for the people in Alabama.

“There was an attack on Alabama,” Padilla said. “We see it as an attack on all of us.”

*This post contains updated information.


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    Enforcement through Attrition? E-Verify to support US workers!

    My main contention is to evaporate the fog around the lies, which are spread by Liberals, Democrats and even some Republicans. Both main parties prefer to keep things as they have always been, but the social networks, C-Span cable, Fax, E-Mail and the internet have altered the conception of the communication around the world. Over the years the only way to contact Senators and Congress was through a letter or a phone call. The computer has given us almost instant ‘real-time’ access to the elusive leaders in Washington. So instead of receiving an answer to your requests weeks after a law has been passed, you now have the reliability of having some influence over your US, State or local representatives. The Balance Budget Amendment never passed, so neither party has a commitment to stop the outlandish spending sprees. The larger group of politicians in Washington draft laws to enrich themselves, not the people, which is being investigated. You mustn’t think that nothing can be done—we voted them into office, we can vote them—OUT.

    Only the TEA PARTY has a serious concern to reduce the federal government size, trash the tax code, close loopholes for corporate, business and the complicity for campaign donor friends inside the Democrats, GOP, and selling citizens’ continuously to the highest bidder to ‘K’ street lobbyists. Our only hope is the TEA PARTY, the ordinary American who can rid us of the corruption in the center of government. Just in the last few days we have heard of ‘Insider Trading’ that is allowed for politicians, but outsiders—THE AMERICAN PEOPLE—will go to prison. Only the TEA PARTY can save America now from the decay that is deeply ingrained in Washington.

    Lamar Smith’s, a Texas lawmaker was inspired to produce this piece of legislation, goes to the heart of the matter of immigration and its rapidly rising cost. Those businesses of every type have encouraged poverty from every country--to settle here. Unlike most developed countries illegal immigration is a felony, not a civil infraction as in the good old USA. They have caused this incredulous infection that has contaminated our country with a large chunk of discretionary spending, to support these people. That has affected each of the 50 states financial shortfalls for decades. The major majority realize now that we cannot keep accepting people who are desperate, and placing a strain of financial weight on public schools for their children, the hospitals and an overpopulated penal system.

    No finger is pointed at any person’s race, color or spiritual dedication, but anybody who has arrived here through any means, with intent to grab as much free welfare assistance as possible. A MANDATORY E-VERIFY SYSTEM will deliver relief from illegal aliens in the labor market. Revised E-Verify is already expelling foreigners who are stealing jobs from the unfortunate 22 million workers, even though it has the Liberal press who denies its effectiveness. Unbelievable the main culprit that had an obligation to the American people through many changes of administration, have failed to close all loopholes in stringent enforcement. Not even the border fence has been completed--or any serious laws to hold businesses accountable for the damage caused by illegal alien labor. Going to Google you can help determine the terrible toll place on this nation, by out-of-control immigration. Our strength is in our votes and you can contact your political leader through NumbersUSA.

    You can read all about corruption at Judicial Watch website, you can either contact ICE website, to report illegal aliens working. You can even join a local TEA PARTY online. You have to wonder who Obama and the Department of Justice as our Public Servants are obligated too. It certainly not to assist the majority of the citizens and legal residents, as the President and the judicial branch have been asserting their power on Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and now Indiana. All these states want to do is inhibit economic aliens from going there and ransacking the welfare and public entitlement programs.

    As of November 18, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) is now co-sponsoring House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith's Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885.) adding to the astounding 12 more lawmakers in the last two weeks, bringing the number of co-sponsors to 65, who wanting this law to reach the floor of the house of Representatives.

    The Washington switchboard at 202-224-3121 is already inundated with infuriated callers, who are justifiably contacting not only the House ‘Ways and Means Committee led by Majority Speak John Boehner (R-OH) on this import legislation. Whoever answers the phone explain to them you are a voter and want your policymaker to sponsor this bill. You can also insisting that all of Congress, on both sides of the chamber co-sponsor this beneficial Bill. Every TEA PARTY member throughout America should join in communicating with every state and US Senator and Congressman.

    Once we get illegal immigration under control, then ‘THE People’ can enact a standardized ‘Guest Worker’ program’ for agriculture, but with good regulated pay, conditions that must be observed. Not the incorrigible way some farmers are treating their charges today.

    Attn: We must all be watchful of illegal aliens voting in the future election cycle.

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