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Undocumented woman says arrest at immigration protest fueled desire to campaign against Arpaio

8 de noviembre de 2016 01:33
43 0

Phoenix – Bertha Rita, an undocumented mother in Arizona who was arrested at a pro-immigrant demonstration, says that this situation led her to join the campaign to unseat Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Tuesday's election.

The member of the Bazta Arpaio group said that on the day last June when the Supreme Court tied in its vote on the constitutionality of Deferred Action, or DACA, she attended a civil disobedience demonstration in front of the Arizona capitol as a sign of protest.

"I had a lot of hopes because I had that DAPA promise. I'm undocumented, I'm 24, living in Phoenix, and on that day they didn't pass the law and I felt very frustrated; I began to cry," she told EFE.

Despite her fears, she attended the protest despite the risk of deportation, because - she said - that risk has been ever-present for years.

But she was arrested and taken to one of Arpaio's jails. There, she said, she was verbally abused.

"You feel so humiliated, they leave you with no food, ... they insult you," she said about the night she cried remembering her little children and the thousands of mothers who have been deported and separated from their families.

"They let me go after 24 hours because they didn't want to give me legal status and because I had a lawyer. Since then, I've gotten braver, they've made me stronger in this fight to get Arpaio out of Arizona," she said.

On Nov. 8, the Latino vote could determine the fate of the hardline Republican sheriff, who has been in office for more than 20 years, although he is slightly behind Democratic candidate Paul Penzone in the voter surveys.

Eduardo Sainz, the director of Mi Familia Vota in Arizona, told Efe that this election will be a turning point, given that applications for citizenship in Arizona have doubled.

"Before, the procedure took three or four months, and this year it took up to seven months, which means that Immigration was not prepared for that large quantity of people who filled out their papers to become citizens and be able to vote," he said.

Sainz said that Rita's fight, and that of many undocumented migrants like her, is not partisan but rather one to ensure that the public has officials who respect the Latino community and pay attention to the issues of immigration, education and workers' rights.


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