SWOP leaders fighting to put an end to “Secure Communities”

Leaders with the Southwest Organizing Project, a member of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, participated in Department of Homeland Security's hearing on Secure Communities in downtown Chicago on Wednesday, August 17. Secure Communities is a program that allows police officers to take finger prints from people arrested to see if they are here legally or illegally. Over 1, 000, 000 people have been deported during the Obama administration through secure communities. Most of the people who were deported had no criminal records.     

On August 17, 2011 about 900 people attended the Secure Communities Hearing. People who supported and were against Secure Communities had the opportunity to share their testimonies and opinions.

Alaa Mukahhal, leader with the Immigrant Youth Justice League, gave a speech on how she has been impacted by Secure Communities. At the end of the speech she left with five other students to conduct civil disobedience in the streets. Alaa asked for community's support. Once outside the students and demonstrators blocked traffic. Ten people were arrested including six students.   

Carolina Rivera, a leader with SWOP, is against the program Secure Communities. Carolina shared how her family has been affected by this program, including her husband, who was scheduled to leave the next day due to deportations through Secure Communities. He left behind his wife and three young children.