U.S. immigration authorities denied humanitarian parole for a group of nine undocumented youths who crossed the legal port of entry at Nogales from Mexico and placed them in detention.
The group, referred to by activists and on social media as the “DREAM 9,” was sent on Monday night to a detention center in Eloy, Arizona, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
DRM Action Coalition, a lobbying group that supports the DREAM Act, posted an update from activist Lulu Martinez to its Facebook page:
So we are all currently wearing green jumpsuits. We went through all the medical examinations and received a visit from the Mexican consulate. We have been given bologne sandwiches and cornbread to eat. Tomorrows breakfast is at 5, lunch is at noon, and dinner is at 4!
It's not clear how long the protesters will remain in detention or if they will face deportation. "Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, arriving individuals who are placed in expedited removal proceedings are subject to mandatory detention while their cases are reviewed," Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement.
Mohammed Abdolahi of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, the group that organized the border-crossing, told the New York Times the protest would keep going inside the detention center.
“The idea we’re trying to make about immigration is that there’s no reason to detain them,” Abdollahi told the Times. “They’re not high priority, they’re not a flight risk, in fact they’re actually fighting to stay in the country.”
The Corrections Corporation of America, one of the country’s largest private prison contractors, owns and helps run the 1,600-bed Eloy Detention Center. At least two detainees have died there this year in what the Associated Press referred to as “apparent suicides,” prompting an ICE investigation in May.
Three undocumented immigrants -- Lizbeth Mateo, Marcos Saavedra and Lulu Martinez -- crossed into Mexico voluntarily earlier this month to reunite with family members. They left with intention of returning through a legal port of entry and openly declaring their status to officials, in one of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s most audacious acts of protest against the Obama administration’s record-setting pace of deportations.
“In the United States, undocumented immigrants run the risk of being taken from their home, no matter where we are,” Mateo wrote Monday in a blog post for the Huffington Post. “We have won many fights against deportation, but not all of them. It's time to take away the power deportation has over us.”
In Mexico, they teamed up with five others who had either left the United States for personal reasons or had been deported. News 4 Tucson, an NBC affiliate, has compiled brief sketches of their stories.
Curious why a group of DREAMers would risk their ability to stay in the United States? Watch the HuffPost Live segment Below to hear them explain the ideas behind the protest.