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Why I Chained Myself to an ICE Prison — and Why You Should, Too

October 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Camila Ibanez, Waging Nonviolence

I grabbed my bandana and prepared to chain myself to the entrance of one of the largest detention centers with the worst reputation in the United States.


Monday morning I woke at dawn and drove an hour from Phoenix to the small town of Eloy, Arizona. It was pretty warm already and I knew the Arizona sun would only grow hotter. I grabbed my bandana and prepared to chain myself to the entrance of one of the largest detention centers with the worst reputation in the United States. There were six of us in all — two men and four women. One was 16-year-old girl named Sandy Estrada. Her brother was detained inside.

“I am doing this so he and everybody else in there knows that we support them,” she said. “Obama has the power to keep families like mine together. He hasn’t done a thing.”

Eloy has enough beds for 1,600 people and has already had two men commit suicide inside this year. The prison was responsible for the placing of six of the Dream 9 — student activist who attempted reentry into the United States as protest July — in solitary confinement. The prison is run by Corrections Corporation of America, whose reported revenue has doubled throughout the 2000s as the federal government has contracted it to hold an increasing number of undocumented immigrants.

Another one of our group was a father of two children. As hours passed, he chanted “undocumented and unafraid!” and “nos tienen miedo porque no tenemos miedo, which means, “they are scared of us because we aren’t scared.” Our bodies were locked together tightly, and if one of us moved too quickly we would all feel the pain of the heavy chains. The cops push us aggressively from time to time, but they said that with all the cameras around they wouldn’t dare arrest us. We remained wrapped in chains under the Arizona sun until we learned that Eloy Detention Center had shut down for the day. We returned to Phoenix after promising the guards we would be back until Eloy was …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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