DACA Recipients Speak Out. “Local Activism Is Our Most Powerful Tool”

Marisa Piña Rodriguez of Juntos. Photo by Harvey Finkle

DACA Recipients Speak Out.
Local Activism Is Our Most Powerful Tool

March 5th, 2018 stood as the deadline for Congress to take action on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] program. On that Monday morning, DACA recipients, immigrant community, and allies gathered in Center City Philadelphia to speak up against the use of DACA recipients as a bargaining chip when it comes to national immigration reform, vehemently opposed any further enforcement or criminalizing of immigrant communities and called on local municipalities to strengthen and expand current Sanctuary policies to protect a wider array of community. Below you can find the speech given on that day by Juntos member, Marisa Piña Rodriguez.

“Good morning everybody. My name is Marisa Piña Rodriguez and I am a 28 year old DACA recipient with the Latino immigrant rights organization, Juntos.

I am here standing before you all because while March 5th loomed as the end date for the temporary protections granted under DACA, for the vast majority of our undocumented immigrant community, there is no date to warn them of their increasingly precarious situation  because every day under the Trump administration has witnessed increased aggressive and inhumane enforcement, detention, and deportations.

Last Monday’s Supreme Court decision to not take up the contentious DACA question and uphold the reinstatement of DACA renewals, was a short-lived but much coveted victory. Less discussed was that in less than 24 hours, that same court ruled that immigrants, including legal permanent residents and asylees, did not have a right to a bond hearing, leaving them to be detained indefinitely. This was a devastating blow to immigrant rights, to human rights, that illustrated how quickly previous victories are being reversed under Trump’s racist and anti-immigrant administration.

Our immigrant communities are under attack. As immigrants, refugees, advocates, and allies we will move toward a more humane future, a more compassionate and inclusive future, ONLY if we addressed the divisions plaguing our immigrant community–divisions both externally imposed by the media as well as those internally created by difference and fear. If we are not vigilant, the futures of DACA recipients will be taken hostage in order to pass white supremacist legislation aimed to further terrorize and criminalize our immigrant communities. This administration has repeatedly demonstrated that it sees DACA recipients as bargaining chips, that it seeks to pass opportunistic immigration reform to further divide our communities by granting benefits to a few while increasing enforcement and deportations for the majority.

The immigrant rights movement currently finds itself at a critical crossroads: Congress has failed us, the media seeks to divide us–what is to be done? We must not get discouraged, instead, we need to organize and unite more than ever. At the local level, there is much we can do to fight against this racist and anti-immigrant administration. Local activism is our most powerful tool to set an example for what we expect to be carried out at the federal level.

One such campaign would be to demand the termination of the Preliminary Arraignment Report System, better known as PARS. PARS is the real-time arrest database used by the Philadelphia Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, and Philly courts. This database is also shared with ICE. For over 20 years, this PARS-ICE collaboration has denied undocumented immigrants due process and instead served as a pipeline to detention. If the city of Philadelphia is truly committed to living up to its status as Sanctuary City, it must expand it’s definition of ‘Sanctuary’ and it must not renew its PARS contract with ICE this year.

So as we stand together let us remember that migrant justice is not just a Latinx issue. This white supremacist administration is a direct threat to immigrants of all races and creeds, of immigrants both present and those yet to come. We will continue to demand family reunification, not family separation. We will not accept more militarization in exchange for selective citizenship. We will fight for legislation and policies at both the national and local level that respect the humanity of all immigrants and our right to a safe and dignified life.

Thank You


Philly #ResistanceZone Built but More to Come.

Photo by Harvey Finkle

Philly #ResistanceZone Built but More to Come.

Over 200 volunteers descended on Juntos this past weekend to learn their rights, to teach others and to knock on doors and we couldn’t be more grateful. In less than 48 hours we

  • Knocked on over 2,500 doors in South Philly 
  • Trained over 1,300 people on their rights & 
  • Signed up over 500 new resistors

Every participant in our Community Resistance Zone made a personal commitment to stand up and defend their neighbors in South Philly against any and all abuses at the hands of police and/or ICE. They learned their rights. And we built history together by building a network of defenders.

We need each other more than ever now. One year after the presidential elections and we have seen a spike in deportations, police abuse, racial profiling, hate crimes, etc. This is not a coincidence. Our current power structure preaches violence and hate and we must unite to fight back. So thank you. Thank you to every volunteer, every canvasser, every Juntos member, all of you, for helping us build the Resistance.

Special thanks to our friend and amazing artist Erika Guadalupe Núñez for designing our beautiful poster. (For more of her beautiful art make sure to follow her on Instagram)

Also, special thanks to:
Reclaim Philadelphia
ACLU Pennsylvania
Unite Here Local 274

Asian Americans United
Media Mobilizing Project
Students from Swarthmore University, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Drexel University, Cornell University and the Migrant Rights Coalition of Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges.

As we continue to build and strengthen our resistance we must be aware that there are those in power who wish nothing more than to stop us. Please help us continue to build in 2018 by signing up as a Juntos volunteer and/or by donating.

Mil gracias,


Join The Community Resistance Zone

Join The Resistance!

White Supremacy is a disease in this country that has existed since 1492 and since Trump’s election we are reminded every day that if you are a person of color in the U.S., you are not safe. From travel bans to massive immigration raids like Operation “Safe City,” where 107 people were disappeared in Philadelphia in four days, the attacks are devastating our families. We cannot let this government define what “safety” is. We can only be safe in these times by building safety for ourselves and we need your help to make it happen!

On November 11th and 12th we will be launching our Community Resistance Zones, a campaign aimed at protecting our loved ones by creating safe zones in our city where every person, block by block, is both trained on their rights and on how to support any neighbor who is subject to racial profiling, police or ICE raids, hate crimes and any other forms of criminalization in this nation.

We will pilot our Community Resistance Zone in South Philadelphia one year after Trump was elected. What will you be doing that weekend to resist? Join us to build the resistance and sign up using the form below!


Nada Seguro Sobre La Operación “Ciudad Segura”

Operación “Ciudad Segura”: Una represalia federal en contra ciudades y comunidades que niegan cooperar con una administración de la supremacía blanca

El 12 de septiembre, 2017 Juntos, junto a más de 30 organizaciones locales y nueve individuos, incluyendo las concejales, María Quiñones-Sánchez y Helen Gym, y la directora de Juntos, Erika Almiron, presentaron un Acto de Libertad de Información (FOIA) a la oficina de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas en Filadelfia (ICE), en respuesta a informes de que una redada a nivel nacional masiva conocida como “Operación Mega” sería desatada contra las comunidades inmigrantes con el objetivo de detener a más de 8,000 personas antes del final del año fiscal de ICE en el 30 de septiembre. No mucho después, ICE anunció públicamente que estarían posponiendo Operación Mega sin indicación de cuándo y procedió a negar la solicitud de la FOIA en las oficinas locales de Filadelfia.

Esta falta de transparencia al público demuestra que nunca se puede confiar en cualquier sentimiento de seguridad que nos ofrezca ICE. Sólo once días después que presentamos la solicitud de FOIA, las autoridades de Inmigración (ICE) demostraron una vez más que son una agencia deshonesta y malvada con el lanzamiento de “Operación Ciudad Segura,” un operativo masivo que se enfoca en los “Ciudades Santuarios,” cómo Filadelfia. La Operación Ciudad Segura solo puede describirse como una represalia deliberada en contra las ciudades y comunidades que niegan cooperar con una administración racista y xenófobo que viola los derechos de la gente. Filadelfia ha soportado lo peor de esta represalia por haber tenido la mayor cantidad de personas desaparecidas: en total, 107 personas fueron recogidas por ICE a lo largo de cuatro días, más que cualquiera otra oficina de ICE del país.

La ironía de que esta operación se nombra “Operación Ciudad Segura” no pasa desapercibida por las víctimas de estas redadas. Una familia local reportó que agentes de ICE entraron a su casa, blandiendo armas en frente de varios niños, interrogando a una menor de edad sin el permiso de los padres, y procedieron a tomar las huellas dactilares de cada persona en la casa. Algunas personas quienes fueron esposados y removidos se describieron como “daños colaterales.” Esto significa que no tenían ninguna razón de ser detenidos aparte de que son inmigrantes y víctimas de una agencia y clima política que aterroriza y desgarra a las familias, utilizando tácticas recordativas al Gestapo en nombre de la seguridad pública.

Erika Almirón, Directora Ejecutiva de Juntos, dijo: “La seguridad pública significa que todos están a salvo de los manos de la máquina de la criminalización de Trump; esta no puede ser definida por agentes de ICE quienes derriban a las puertas de nuestras casas con armas y llevan a la gente en frente de sus propios hijos. Es por esto que necesitamos expandir las  pólizas de ciudades santuarios como Filadelfia para proteger a nuestras familias de esta nueva época de Gestapo que utiliza a las agencias de la inmigración para llevar a cabo una limpieza étnica. Debemos empujar para legislación que despenaliza a personas que solamente están tratando de sobrevivir y asegurar de que nuestra sistema legal y la policía no colaboren con ICE, lo cual hace que todas las personas en nuestra ciudad se sientan menos seguros.”