The following is a statement from Patty Kupfer, Managing Director of America’s Voice, responding to her civil disobedience arrest at the Capitol today, alongside 104 other women.
“Today, more than 100 women from across the country, many of them undocumented, gathered in front of the Capitol to risk arrest.
“I’m proud to be one of them. Today’s action is about women and how they bear a tremendous burden trying to keep their families together when faced with deportation. It is about Yohana, mother of two U.S. citizen children and the partner of Rony. Rony is currently in immigration detention awaiting deportation, and is being assisted by the Congress of Day Laborers in his quest to have his deportation case closed so he can return to the family that needs him.
“Yohana is recovering from surgery and the couple’s five year-old daughter also suffers from medical problems, including depression. Rony was the sole provider for the family, and with him in immigration detention Yohana is struggling to deal with the crisis on her own. The Obama Administration has issued numerous directives calling on ICE to use common sense when deciding who to deport, including a memo that’s supposed to protect children whose parents are facing deportation.
“Yohana and Rony’s case is crying out for compassion from the Administration, and action from Congress on a permanent solution. While there are hundreds of thousands of women and families whose stories have ended tragically, there is still time for the Obama Administration to do the right thing and let Yohana keep her family together.
“There is also time, and enough votes in Congress, to enact real immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for all 11 million aspiring Americans. The Senate has already passed a strong bipartisan bill. During the August recess our movement proved how big and powerful we’ve become, organizing thousands of events around the country. Because of our work, 26 House Republicans have now come out in support of a path to citizenship. Along with the Democrats in the House who support citizenship, that means we have the votes to win.
“But right now, House Republican leaders are following a partisan track that seems to be more about setting up the blame game than getting it done. Through the power of our families, our stories, and our movement, we will change that. Through this action today by so many courageous women today, we’re sending the message to Republican leadership that Yohana and the millions of other women expect them to act this year. Instead of hiding behind process excuses and partisanship, they need to clear the way for reform that treats all families and individuals with dignity and respect.
“What they don’t seem to get is this: this fight is not about congressional procedures, it’s about real people with full lives, big dreams, and the courage to fight for what’s right and never give up.
“Sooner rather than later, the people will win.”