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Protests against Broward Transitional Center organized by @TheNIYA

August 9, 2012

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Photos courtesy of Steve Pavey and National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA)

Last Sunday, organizers from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) protested outside of Broward Transitional Center to demand “a full and complete review of all detainees at the center.”  Around 50 activists and community members gathered to hold signs and impede traffic in the streets of Pompano Beach.  Four demonstrators (Ally Ruiz, Daniel Alvardo, Marco Saabedra, and Diri Diana Martinez) from NIYA were subsequently arrested after a civil disobedience demonstration that led to road closures.

The protests follow President Obama’s announcement last year and earlier this year to limit detention and deportation for immigrants with high level offenses and extensive criminal backgrounds.  Due to the ICE’s limited resources, the John Morton Memo outlines that detention and deportation should not prioritize low-risk immigrants with close family ties, limited criminal backgrounds, and extensive residency.

Earlier in July, NIYA activist Marco Saavedra allowed himself to be detained by Border Patrol in order to gain access within Broward Transitional Center.  Along with fellow activists, Saavedra has been organizing hunger strikes within the facility to raise attention to low-priority detainees.  Stories gathered from the organizing reveal that there were over 100 cases of detainees who should be released, including people with pending U-visa applications, DREAM Act eligible youth, and individuals with no criminal record.  You can learn about more stories from the Broward center here.

Despite his extensive family ties and no criminal background, Claudio Rojas was detained while in the process of applying for a visa and is currently entering his 19th day of the hunger strike.  DREAM Activist has been extensively involved in stopping the deportation of Rojas.  Organizers have staged sit-ins in Senator Bill Nelson’s office in Coral Gables, FL.  With plans to continue on Thursday, activist Mohammad Abdollahi stated, “We’re not finished.”

A spokesman from Nelson’s Washington office stated, “We’ve asked ICE for some answers and conveyed a sense of urgency in the case of Claudio Rojas. If the facts indicate Rojas is eligible for release, we’ll push to make that happen.”

To follow these continued demonstrations, visit NIYA.

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