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SIN PAPELES! SIN MIEDO!

Several+organizations+including+United+We+Dream+and+Florida+Immigrant+Coalition%2C+attended+the+protest+on+July+18th+2018.
Several organizations including United We Dream and Florida Immigrant Coalition, attended the protest on July 18th 2018.

Several organizations including United We Dream and Florida Immigrant Coalition, attended the protest on July 18th 2018.

Several organizations including United We Dream and Florida Immigrant Coalition, attended the protest on July 18th 2018.

By Mayisha Perez, Staff Writer

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NO HATE,

 NO FEAR,

IMMIGRANTS ARE WELCOMED HERE!

 

SIN PAPELES (NO PAPERS)!

 SIN MIEDO (NO FEAR)!

These were some of the chants I repeated along with dozens of other protestors, representing the diversity of multicultural Miami, as we stopped traffic on Southwest 145 Avenue, right in front of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Miramar on July 18th, 2018. Police were also on hand.

 

Who is ICE?

ICE, according to Heather Timmons-a staff writer for Quartz News- was created in 2003 under the presidency of George W. Bush following the attack on the World Trade Center (Twin Towers) on September 11, 2001, in order to provide stronger protection of our borders and ports to prevent such attacks from happening again.

 

What was the purpose of the protest?

At the 400 ICE offices (ice.gov) within the United States, hundreds of immigrants line up every day, as early as before dawn, to check-in on their immigration cases. One office is located here in Miramar, FL. These lines reach far outside the office and across the parking lot. People in these lines stand under the hot sun or rain with no water, no bathroom, no shade, and no place to sit.

This uncaring treatment of immigrants, who are just trying to do the right thing, has provoked organizations of immigrant advocates such as United We Dream and Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees, to protest and create awareness of the difficult conditions that many immigrants encounter while trying to check in with ICE.

 

What encouraged me and others to attend?

   I had not known about the protest till a friend invited me through her involvement with United We Dream, which is the largest youth-led immigrant network in America.

It was my first time ever attending a protest. At first, I feared attending because of any fight that could happen between the protesters and police officers. Walking into the street and stopping traffic made me most nervous. However, attending this protest meant that I would be defending those who are immigrants. Though my mom and I were born in Miami, her mother was born in Colombia and my dad was born in Cuba. Hence, immigration is a real-life issue for me.

This protest encouraged me because with my voice, I knew that I was not only defending some of my family and friends, but also other families who are immigrants.

“These immigrants deserve to have an opportunity within the United States,” stated Miami High senior Valentina Figuera, who attended the protest with United We Dream (UWD).

Junior Yaneilys Ayuso, who also attended the protest with UWD, said, “My love and respect for my immigrant community and family members encouraged me to attend.”

 

What was our personal experience?

Even though many others and I were under the blazing hot sun yelling, chanting, and even sweating, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. Attending the protest was life-changing for me.

We spent hours supporting the 17 men and women from United We Dream who were willing to be arrested. As we walked into traffic, the 17 men and women sat chained together in the center of SW 145 Avenue in Miramar.

“The first few minutes were empowering, before the heat of the sun kicked in,” Yanielys said. “It took me a second to realize that people do this every day, and for longer periods of time.”

“I finally came to understand that the same people who stand outside the ICE facility for hours, experience the same heat from the sun that I felt,” said Valentina.

What lessons did we learn from the protest?

After attending the protest and reflecting on my experience, I realized that I, as a U.S. born citizen, can make a difference by using my voice and standing for what I believe in, which CAN create change in our communities.

“My privilege as an American citizen is something I cannot take for granted. I must use it to shine light on what is happening and how it is affecting our communities,” said Yanielys. “We still have more work to do. It does not end here.”

What led me to attend the protest?

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