Vigil Slated To Halt Deportations

Oscar Avila, Chicago Tribune, July 28, 2006

Immigrant advocates announced their final push Thursday to prevent the deportation of 26 illegal immigrants arrested in April in Chicago during a nationwide sweep at a company called IFCO Systems.

At a news conference in front of Immigration Court in the Loop, about 25 supporters said they would organize an all-night vigil Sunday night that will end Monday morning, the day the first group of workers goes before an immigration judge.

Supporters, who include ministers, elected officials, and groups called Centro Sin Fronteras (Center Without Borders) and La Familia Latina Unida (United Latino Family), said they are also working to organize a meeting between elected officials and the Department of Homeland Security in Chicago.

The groups also are calling for a moratorium on deportations until Congress passes a law to legalize millions of illegal immigrants. The supporters said it doesn’t make sense to raid workplaces and deport illegal immigrants when many of those arrested might be eligible for legalization.

“We want these workers to stay in the country legally,” said Elvira Arellano, president of United Latino Family, which works with families potentially split by deportation. “They have every right since they have worked hard, paid taxes and contributed to this nation’s economy.”

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