OAKLAND, Calif. – Women of different community groups marched in solidarity to urge the US government to halt deportations which, they say, have brought suffering to immigrant and refugee women across the country.
These protesters say migrant women are targets of harsh detention and deportation tactics, especially trans women who say they were denied medical treatment and placed in solitary confinement.
Contrary to critics who say President Barack Obama is soft on immigration, according to the US Department of Homeland Security, each year of the Obama administration has seen more deportations than any preceding president.
Irma Bajar of Gabriela USA said deportations are going to get worse, and they are marching to address the issue of where US tax dollars are really spent on.
“The United States has over 900 US bases,” said Bajar. “It’s priority is a war of aggression in other countries and not really taking care of the people here.”
These activists say they cannot trust state and local officials to fix this problem.
“In Oakland and San Francisco, the mayors aren’t addressing working class issues and immigrant communities issues,” said Lorraine Deguzman of Gabriela USA. “It takes people power; it takes people who are the most impacted by the crisis by economic violence, housing issues to be the forefront to be the leaders of the movement.”
They also say that despite the progressive change promised by a possible Hillary Clinton presidency, it will not stop the ongoing deportations in America.
“Unfortunately with Hillary Clinton, I believe that she will not change the system in which are affecting women and migrant women,” added Bajar. “You cannot be a leader like Hillary Clinton and still support still giving military aid to places like the Philippines.”
These Pinays say that the fight for women’s dignity and self-determination does not end today. They will hold a national conference in San Francisco next weekend to advance migrant women’s rights and foster social change in the Philippines.