WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Javier Castillo Maradiaga, an immigrant living in New York City, was supposed to be deported early Monday morning by ICE, despite the Biden administration’s 100-day deportation moratorium.
Immigration advocates from across the country protested in Washington Sunday. Thanks to their efforts, Maradiaga is still in the U.S. The protests aren’t over yet, though — one of the participating groups and its partners are running a 100-day campaign, to coincide with the deportation moratorium, to ease the road to citizenship, and end all deportations and detentions.
Jung Woo Kim and Glo Harn Choi are organizers for the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, which is spending the next few months sharing immigrants’ stories, phone dogging members of Congress, and organizing protests. Kim and Choi are also immigrants and say the election — and a Democratic Congress — give them hope.
Kim received DACA status when he was 28. He says his life has changed dramatically since then. “Basically, I didn’t have anything. It was very difficult. I know how hard it is to live in this country without any protection and no work permits or social security number — stuff that is really needed.”
Immigrants have faced many roadblocks for centuries. Choi says the Trump administration made them especially fearful.
“Not only did they ramp up and expand detentions and deportations among all undocumented people — they also I think changed the rhetoric that goes around immigrants,” he said. “It scared everybody into thinking that they shouldn’t deserve the kinds of benefits — that if they do apply for any kinds of benefits that it will negatively affect any kinds of potential for shifting their status later in the future.”
Choi’s parents immigrated to the U.S. to make a better life for their children. Once they’d moved, his sister was diagnosed with autism. Choi says the incredible support she got at school made all of their hardships worth it.
“There’s something that we often say in movement spaces and that’s, ‘When we organize we win,’” he said. “We can continue to fight for people like Javier who are currently in deportation procedures. We can have citizenship for all 11 million undocumented folks in the country.”
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