PHOENIX, Arizona — While the Obama administration has established new federal guidelines to focus on employers that break the law by hiring undocumented workers, local authorities in Maricopa County are going in the opposite direction, and increasing the crackdown on employees. Just today sheriff’s deputies conducted one of the largest raids to date at a paper plant in Phoenix.
Last Friday dozens of children took to the streets to call for an end to immigration raids by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and to bring attention to the social and economic impact the raids have had on their families.
“I want to tell Sheriff Joe Arpaio to let my parents alone and let them free. And leave the people that are working out, and (instead) get the people that are killing others and robbing,” said Katherine Figueroa, a 9-year-old U.S. citizen.
Katherine’s parents Sandra and Carlos Figueroa –both undocumented — were arrested in June in a raid at a Phoenix carwash where they worked , and charged with identity theft. Katherine found out about their arrest when she saw her dad detained on a local TV news program.
It’s been two months since Katherine has shared a meal with her parents. She now stays with one of her aunts.
“He needs to stop the raids is not fair what he’s doing to people,” said Katherine who held a cardboard sign in the shape of a colorful orange and black butterfly.
Listen to Katherine here:[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/children3.mp3]
The Monarch butterfly was the theme for the young marchers because it endures an epic migration between Mexico and the U.S. for its survival.
Chanting “Obama, Obama we want our parents back,” the children walked in the hot Arizona summer from Madison Jail, were their parents are detaine to Sheriff Arpaio’s offices in downtown Phoenix.
Listen to the children chanting:[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/children1.mp3]