Viridiana Martinez and Marco Saavedra, DREAM Act activists who are undocumented, have done what many consider the unthinkable: the two activists approached immigration agents and placed themselves into deportation proceedings. Saveedra and Martinez, along with five other activists, are being detained in the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach, Florida.
While in detention they’ve met dozens of people who ought to be granted deportation under the Obama administration’s memo outlining who ought to be a high priority for deportation and who ought not be detained and deported. Among those the Obama administration has said it doesn’t want to waste its resources deporting are those with no criminal convictions and those who have long ties to the U.S. Yet, Saveedra and Martinez have found and catalogued the cases of many whose cases make them perfect candidates for deportation relief, confirming what experts and advocates have long argued—that the Obama administration has consistently promised sharper, more discriminating enforcement and reneged on even his own administration’s reforms.
“Everyday I am meeting new people who have been detained for months and months for nothing more than driving without a license, we have one case of a father detained after dropping off his 11-year old wheel chair bound son at school,” Martinez said in an email appeal sent out this week. “These stories are not supposed to be happening, but they are, right in our communities.”
Especially poignant for DREAMers who were granted deportation relief this summer with President Obama’s announcement that he’d stop deporting DREAM Act-eligible youth? Saavedra and Martinez have met more than a dozen of those very young people behind bars in Broward.
Activists have set up petitions on DreamActivist.org and asked supporters to help lobby to stop the deportations of those people. Martinez spoke with Democracy Now! about her decision to send herself to detention. Listen here.