On February 8, 2013 Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies raided a sports apparel company and arrested 23 workers suspected of working in the country without legal permissions. Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s raid at Sportex Apparel left many sons and daughters without their parents–among them is a deaf teenage girl whose mother, grandmother and grandfather have been in detention since the raid.
Diana Blanco, 17, is deaf. She’s the oldest of three girls who will find out next Monday if their mother, grandmother and grandfather will be deported. All three are being held in the county jail without bond. Advocates for the family believe Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery will charge the detained family members with the maximum penalty, setting them on the pathway to deportation.
"I don’t want her to spend a year in jail. I miss my mom and I need her a lot. We want to tell the one that’s putting the charges to please stop," Diana, signed at a press conference organized by Puente Movement, an Arizona community-based group fighting for migrant justice and human rights.
Puente Movement has launched a petition calling on Montgomery to drop charges against victims of Arpaio.
Last month, the Los Angeles based band Las Cafeteras heard about Diana Blanco’s ordeal and produced a video with a message of support. The band usually sticks to the sounds of Son Jarocho, folk music from Southern Veracruz, Mexico, but it just so happens that some band members have relatives who are hard of hearing so they can also communicate in American sign language.
Watch Las Cafeteras‘ message of support for Diana Blanco at the top of this page.
Post has been updated since publication.