Yesterday, we saw Donald Trump’s deportation force in action when ICE detained, and then deported an undocumented mother of two U.S. Citizens in Arizona.
After being arrested in by anti-immigrant zealot Joe Arpaio in 2008 during an unconstitutional workplace raid, Guadalupe “Lupita” García de Rayos diligently attended yearly check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Phoenix, Arizona.
However, yesterday’s meeting with ICE agents yielded a different result for Lupita. Unlike in years past, Lupita, an undocumented immigrant who has contributed to her local community in Arizona for over two decades, was placed in deportation proceedings.
News about Lupita’s impending deportation spread across Arizona, resulting in community protests that lasted late into the night. The New York Times reports:
As a van carrying Ms. Rayos left the ICE building, protesters were waiting. They surrounded it, chanting, “Liberation, not deportation.” Her daughter, Jacqueline, joined in, holding a sign that read, “Not one more deportation.” One man, Manuel Saldana, tied himself to one of the van’s front wheels and said, “I’m going to stay here as long as it takes.”
At the center of the protest was a Facebook Live video that a local advocate in Arizona used as a tool to illustrate how Trump’s Deportation Force attempted to destroy separate a mother from her mother and community.
The video, which has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people from across the United States, was shared by local activists, immigration advocates, and allies who urged ICE to stop Lupita’s deportation and grant her a stay of removal.
Posted by Francisca Porchas on Wednesday, February 8, 2017
This is a powerful and striking example of a recommendation I outlined in a blog post I authored earlier in the year, where I wrote how immigrants and advocates could use live streaming platforms like Facebook Live to illustrate the damaging effects Trump’s Deportation Force could have on families and communities.
Francisca Porchas, the local advocate who launched the Facebook Live stream, consistently narrated the events that were unfolding to inform viewers of who Lupita was, what happened with her immigration case, and what led community members to mobilize to help stop her deportation.
On screen, you could watch how immigration advocates delayed an ICE van that transported Lupita as community members protested her deportation. The live stream picked up momentum as Francisca continued to interview protesters and narrate the events that unfolded before her, leading the video to pour on to Twitter – where advocates shared it as a way to draw attention to Lupita’s’ case.
Photos, short videos, and media articles from reporters quickly followed, resulting in a massive display of support, and protest, for Lupita and her family.
LIVE 🔴: #Immigration advocates in AZ block ICE van to prevent deportation of Lupita Garcia, mother of 2 US Citizenshttps://t.co/ixEKhjTuDw pic.twitter.com/ED7lu8ad2W
— Juan Escalante (@JuanSaaa) February 9, 2017
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos in the van. Reflection is her son Angel, 16. pic.twitter.com/cZMjdUi67C
— Daniel Gonzalez (@azdangonzalez) February 9, 2017
Among people blocking van from backing up and returning to ICE is Emrys Stanton, a Unitarian Universalist pastor. He's the one on right. pic.twitter.com/5nMPuvxow3
— Fernanda Santos (@fernandaNYT) February 9, 2017
#GuadalupeGarcia looking at her son through the window of an #ICE van. Protestors are blocking the van to halt her deportation pic.twitter.com/MRtO0lqhGZ
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) February 9, 2017
Unfortunately, Lupita was deported back to Mexico earlier today. However, thanks to the efforts of community advocates like Francisca Porchas, MiJente, PUENTE Arizona, and others we now know the power that digital tools like Facebook Live hold in order to hold ICE and local police accountable for carrying out Trump’s mass deportation policies.
We will update this post with additional details on Lupita’s case as we receive them.