Immigration officials arrested the family of an activist fighting for immigration reform on Thursday, reported Talking Points Memo.
After raiding the home of Erika Andiola — who co-founded the DRM Action Coalition and is an outspoken advocate of the DREAM Act, which would offer young undocumented individuals a pathway to citizenship — Immigrations and Customs Enforcement arrested her mother and brother.
While Andiola and her brother have some legal status in the country under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, their mother, Maria Arreola, does not.
The pair are scheduled to be released soon, but Andiola herself is not sure why immigration went after her mother. ICE referred Andiola to a 1998 removal order. Her mother was also fingerprinted last month after she was pulled over for speeding and had no identification, which means that the police could have notified immigration officials of the traffic stop.
In a video she recorded after the arrests, Andiola recounted the raid.
“They said they were not going to do anything to her. My mom came outside and they took her, for no reason, and then they asked me if my brother was related to me and I said yes, he’s my brother. And they just took him. They just took him and they didn’t want to tell me why, they just said that they needed to go because they were here illegally and that they shouldn’t be here.”
“This needs to stop, we need to do something, we need to stop separating families, this is real, this is so real,” she said.
UPDATE: The Color Lines blog reports that Andiola’s mother and brother have been released by immigration authorities. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have indicated that they will exercise prosecutorial discretion with regards to their cases.
Within hours of the ICE raid that took Andiola’s family members into custody, thousands mobilized, tweeting with the hashtag #WeAreAndiola and phoning legislators. The DREAM Act activist contacted the National Immigration Law Center, America’s Voice and DreamActivist.org.
“I immediately started contacting different folks, people in my community and people in the movement,” Andiola said. “Thank God I got a lot of really great support from people I had worked with in the past and right now.”
UPDATE: The Latino Rebels Facebook page is featuring this status update from Andiola:
“My mom was on the way to Mexico. She said the driver turned around when she received a call. She was really confused, then they told her that the reason why she was returning was because her daughter was mobilizing the whole country to get her to come back. The reality is, you all made it happen! My mami is now home thanks to your calls! THANK YOU!”
Watch the video below.