AACC Urges End to Immigrant Detention on World Refugee Day

Vigil 1

On Wednesday, June 20th, the Arab American Civic Council stood in solidarity with the families at the border to mourn family separation and demand an end to their inhumane detention. We joined community leaders from different organizations including Activate Labs, World Relief-Southern California, and CAIR-LA at the Theo Lacy Detention Center in Orange to center the voices of refugees and immigrants and unite in these difficult times.

It has been over a month since the implementation of the “zero tolerance” policy instituted by the Trump administration. The policy prosecuted all immigrants entering the country through the U.S – Mexico border, and as a result, separated children from their parents. Over 2,000 children have been taken away from their families and are being held in “tender age facilities”.

Community leaders and advocates are organizing to end the detention and welcome the refugee families who came escaped persecution and oppression in their home countries.

On Wednesday morning, President Trump signed an executive order to end the family separation. However, families continue to be detained, and many children may not be reunited with their parents. The harm that has been caused is irreparable, and more needs to be done.

Monica Curca, who comes from a family of Romanian refugees, and is the Executive Director of Activate Labs, led the crowd and highlighted the fact that “instead of being housed and treated like refugees, [families] are actually re-traumatized re-persecuted here in this country”.

Jessica Bravo, another community leader, was “speaking up for kids who can’t speak up for themselves”. She came to the U.S. when she was only 3 years old and is temporarily protected under DACA. As the Muslim Latino Coordinator at OCCORD, she rallied the crowd to take action and utilize the power of consumerism by boycotting companies that accommodate the detention of immigrants. “It makes me think I could have been one of those children and it agitates me enough to make a call for action”.

“It’s a scary process to leave your place to come to somewhere you don’t know and try to make it happen and live the American Dream”. – Maria Jimenez, Orange County resident and daughter of undocumented immigrant parents.

AACC Program Coordinator, Johanna Mustafa, reminded the crowd that “this is continuation of a long history of criminalizing, persecuting, and dehumanizing people of color. Family separation is not a foreign concept in this country, and it is time we put an end to it”.

Saturday, June 30th is a national day of action calling for end of family separation. Find an event near you here.