A group of young immigration reform activists known as the “Dream Nine” has been released from federal custody at the culmination of the most audacious protest action yet launched by a nationwide coalition of undocumented Latinos.
The five men and four women emerged late on Wednesday from the Eloy detention centre in Arizona, where they were held for two weeks after entering the US from Mexico. They had intentionally had themselves arrested and taken into US custody, risking in some cases their lives spent in America since infancy, as part of a billowing protest movement against the separation of immigrant families caused by the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of deportations.
Three of the nine – Lulu Martinez from Chicago, Lizbeth Mateo from Los Angeles and Marco Saavedra from New York City – had left their homes and crossed the border into Mexico, then had themselves arrested for lack of immigration papers as they tried to cross back into the US on 22 July at the Nogales border point. Six others who had returned to Mexico earlier joined them for the crossing. All were arrested, some wearing university gowns and mortar boards.