By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
March 12, 2013
NEW YORK – Monday was the “National Day of Action against Deportations.”
Immigrant advocates from different communities and ethnic backgrounds in New York joined forces to protest across the Varick Street Immigration Court in Lower Manhattan.
Protest Coordinator, Hanalei Ramos said, “The Migrant Power Alliance is asking, is demanding that deportations end, that there be an accessible, full-path to citizenship and that all families that are separated due to these hearings and processes are united now.”
Protesters say the government has deported 1.5 million undocumented workers in Obama’s first term alone.
They say the U.S. has spent 18 billion dollars on enforcing immigration law such as detention and deportation of the undocumented, more money than all other law enforcements agencies combined.
Alleged human trafficking victim, Filipina Annabelle Sibayan and her boyfriend are still fighting deportation proceedings.
When their temporary work visa expired without their knowledge, after their employer allegedly failed to renew it, she and her boyfriend were arrested, detained and were both placed under removal proceedings by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).
Sibayan said, “Ang mensahe ko lang sa kanya sana buksan pa rin niya yung puso niya, yung tenga niya na intindihin kung gaano kahirap ang mapahiwalay sa pamilya, so sana lang President Obama matigil na itong deportation na ito.
Ramos said, “Particularly in Annabelle’s case, we see the individual effects of the way that immigrants are penalized and criminalized in this country.”
Sibayan has recently received a work authorization from the USCIS thanks to a pending T-Visa application, but until the t-visa is finally approved, her immigration attorney will not able to request for a dismissal of Sibayan’s deportation proceedings.