A recent article on community organizing in Arizona in the wake of SB 1070. Check out the mentions of The Repeal Coalition at the bottom. Also check out Jordan's new book (Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six), more information at floodlines.org.

A Movement Rises
by Jordan Flaherty

Three months ago, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the notorious SB 1070, a bill that put her state at the forefront of a movement to intensify the criminalization of undocumented immigrants.

Since then activists have responded through legal challenges, political lobbying, grassroots organizing and mass mobilizations. More than a hundred thousand people from across Arizona marched on the state capitol on May 29. Today, hundreds more have pledged to risk arrest through nonviolent direct action. These are the public manifestations of a widespread struggle happening in this state. The organizations leading this fight offer a template of inspiring and strategic action for people around the US who want to join in resistance to these policies.

A Rogue State

Yesterday, Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction against sections of Arizona law SB 1070, which is scheduled to go into effect today. The judge put a hold on some of the most outrageous parts of the bill, such as language that mandates racial profiling by officers. However, Judge Bolton left much of the rest of the law intact, including sections that specifically target day laborers.

For Arizona activists, the legal ruling represents - at best - a small respite. "It's not a victory, it's a relief," says Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). "We're putting a band aid on a wound."

Alvarado and the organizers with NDLON are part of a broad network of national organizations and volunteers who have joined with local organizers to fight not just against this unjust law, but also against a general climate of anti-immigrant hatred. "Arizona is a rogue state," says Alvarado. "We're going to use every single means that we have at our disposal to fight back."

Puente Arizona, a Phoenix-based organization that describes itself as a human rights movement working to "resurrect our humanity," has formed Barrio Defense Committees in neighborhoods across the city. Emulating the structure of groups founded by popular movements in El Salvador, the community-based structure work to both serve basic needs, and also build consciousness and help bring people together. The committees host regular "know your rights" trainings and ESL classes, and are organizing Copwatch projects. "We ask the community to unite and organize themselves," says Puente activist Diana Perez Ramirez. "And we are just there to support that." More than one thousand people have joined these neighborhood organizations so far, with more joining every day.

Puente has made use of volunteers from across the US, utilizing national support to help with local organizing, and initiating direct action with the support of out of town allies like The Ruckus Society, Catalyst Project, and various chapters of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They have issued calls to action including a Human Rights Summer (modeled after the civil rights movements' Freedom Summer) and "30 Days for Human Rights," a month of actions culminating in mass civil disobedience today, the day SB 1070 will become law.

Just after midnight, as the law took effect, the first protest of the day began. Nearly 80 people blocked the intersection at the entrance to the town of Guadelupe, a small - one square mile - Native American and Latino community just outside of Phoenix. Residents and elected leadership in the town have a history of public criticism of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been one of the main public faces of SB 1070, and most of the protesters (and all of the organizers) were from the community. Holding signs declaring their opposition to the new law and leading chants against police brutality, activists declared that Arpaio's officers are not welcome in their town - a point they made concrete by physically blocking the main road leading in. The stand off against police lasted more than an hour, before protest leaders in consultation with the town's mayor decided to open the intersection. Several more actions are planned for throughout today, and Arpaio has threatened mass arrests.

Working Proactively

The Repeal Coalition, a Flagstaff- and Phoenix-based grassroots organization, was formed in 2007. The group came together because they saw a vacuum in the immigrants' rights movement in Arizona. "Some of the left here were not being very audacious," explains Luis Fernandez of the Repeal Coalition. "The positions in the public debate ranged from 'kick them all out,' to 'get their labor and then kick them out.'" The Repeal Coalition has staked out a position of calling for the elimination of all anti-immigration laws, declaring, "We fight for the right for people to live, love, and work wherever they please." With this call, says Fernandez, "Now we can have a real debate."

When the coalition was founded, organizers brought in labor activists to advise them on how to build an organization along similar models to those that have built strong unions, utilizing house calls, neighborhood mapping, and group meetings. Although they are an all-volunteer group with little to no funding, they have developed a structure that has initiated large protests and provided direct service, and they are now strategizing more ways to take direct action and non-compliance in the post SB 1070 era.

Fernandez says that this struggle is ultimately about overcoming fear and moving from reaction to proactive action. "We've been in a crisis in Arizona for a long time," he explains. "Even if SB 1070 weren't implemented, it wouldn't matter. The political crisis would continue." To address this crisis, Fernandez believes organizations must build unity across race and class. "Traditionally in America, when the working class starts suffering, instead of connecting together and looking upwards at the cause of the problem, they look sideways or downwards for who to blame." Most importantly, he believes activists must take action to seize the initiative.

In this vision, he has been inspired by young organizers working on the DREAM ACT, a federal law that creates a path to citizenship for undocumented youth. "They came to Arizona and said, 'we're undocumented and we're going to commit acts of civil disobedience.'" At first, Repeal Coalition members tried to talk them out of this action, but the youth explained, "We are going to lose our fear because it is the fear of being arrested or the fear of being deported that fuels the inability of political action." The bravery and vision of these youth has inspired Fernandez to continue to search for new and bold ways to take action, rather than just continually respond to right wing attacks. "We need to set the agenda," explains Fernandez. "We have to say, 'No, you're going to react to us.'"

Despite a range of tactics and philosophies, one thing organizers here have in common is a dedication to exporting the lessons of their struggle. While Arizona's law is the first and most draconian, similar laws are pending across the country. And during this current national economic crisis, more and more politicians have found that they can score political points by demonizing immigrants. "The last two months we've had a lot of people calling us asking what they can do to help Arizona," says Fernandez. "We say, organize in your own town. You don't have to come to Arizona because Arizona is coming to you."

The Fight Against SB 1070

This isn't in the South, but it is about organizing. It's also a great essay. Fight SB 1070! Free Arizona!

Miracles, Democracy, and the Fight Against SB 1070

By Joel Olson

One by one we go around the room. We state our name and why we are here at this meeting, seeking the repeal of SB 1070 and other anti-immigrant laws. “I want to keep my family together.” “I believe in human dignity.” “I’m afraid my family will be broken up.” “I believe in freedom for all people.” “I want a resolution to this problem.” “I want a new world.”

This is what my Wednesday nights have been like since the passage of SB 1070 in April: for three hours I sit in a hot, sweaty room at the local Catholic church in Flagstaff, Arizona, with anywhere from 25 to 50 adults plus a gaggle of little kids. It’s a meeting of the Repeal Coalition, an all-volunteer, grassroots organization that is struggling for the repeal of all anti-immigrant laws in Arizona. Three-quarters or more of the participants are Latino. About that many are undocumented or related to someone who is. Women outnumber men, and they participate more. The discussion is noisy and animated, and mostly in Spanish, with people doing the best they can to translate into English or vice-versa. Often just the gist gets translated. (Someone says a joke in Spanish and three-quarters of the room erupts in laughter and the rest of us smile sheepishly, then someone says a joke in English and it goes the other way.) But somehow we feel like part of the same group. The kids in the adjacent room tear through the paper and crayons and cheap toys until someone pops in a video. By 8:30 p.m., exhausted, we clap it out, clean up, socialize, and take care of the little things we couldn’t get to in the formal meeting. Then we all go home, do the work we volunteered to do, and come back fighting the next Wednesday.

This is what democracy looks like.

In Arizona right now, this is the lull before the storm. SB 1070 is scheduled to become law on July 29. If you don’t know, SB 1070 is the notorious anti-immigrant law that makes it a state crime to be undocumented, requires everyone in the state to carry ID (“Your papers, please!”), makes it a crime to give an undocumented person a ride in your car or a meal in your home, and practically mandates racial profiling.

On July 29, if the police have “reasonable suspicion” that you are undocumented, you will be ripped from your family and thrown in jail.

On July 29, if you give a ride in your car or allow into your home a person you know is undocumented, you are “recklessly disregarding” that person’s legal status and can be arrested for “harboring” an “illegal alien.”

On July 29, if you get stopped by the cops and you don’t have identification on you, this will count as “reasonable suspicion” that you may be in the country illegally, and you are subject to arrest, no matter where you are from.

If this sounds to you like the makings of a police state, well, it does to me, too.

When Governor Jan Brewer signed 1070 into law at the end of April, Arizonans took to the streets in the tens of thousands. We organized protests, held community forums, and spoke out wherever we could: the state capitol, trailer parks in Phoenix, Flagstaff City Hall, the borders of the Tohono O’odham nation, neighborhoods in South Tucson.

After the crowds died down, the lawyers stepped in. To date at least six lawsuits have been filed that seek to prevent SB 1070 from going into effect, including one by the Obama administration.

Undocumented folks and their loved ones are holding their breath, praying that the lawsuits will succeed. But many of them aren’t putting all of their eggs in that basket. They know that ultimately, only grassroots action will defeat this evil law.

Which brings us to the meetings.

Americans generally don’t know how to run a meeting, or participate in one. We can vote, we can speechify, and we can scream at each other, but we rarely debate constructively and in a way that encourages the participation of all. Our political system simply isn’t set up for that. Instead, what typically happens is that the people vote once a year or so and the politicians do the work—with the help of lobbyists, bureaucrats, judges, and lawyers, lots of lawyers. It’s actually a really limited form of democracy, when you think about it.

But the meetings of the Repeal Coalition are entirely different. They are utterly ordinary, yet incredible. The great Marxist revolutionary C.L.R. James once wrote a pamphlet about direct democracy called “Every Cook Can Govern.” He would have been inspired to see these cooks, cleaners, servers, chamber maids, college students, linen service workers, teachers, maintenance workers, warehouse clerks, and cashiers practice democracy in Arizona. And the Coalition doesn’t just go through the motions of democracy like most American voters; we debate politics. We come together, discuss the right thing to do, develop strategy, make decisions, and carry them out. People (mostly) raise their hand to speak and (mostly) listen patiently to others. And we do all of this in two languages!

The political theorist Hannah Arendt claims that ordinary people directly participating in politics is literally a miracle. Miracles, she argues, are the spontaneous creation of something new. This, she argues, is precisely what people acting in the public sphere do: they create a new beginning, a new community, a new political possibility, something that has never existed before.

That’s what happens every Wednesday night in Phoenix and Flagstaff. At one recent meeting, for example, Flagstaff Repeal discusses the finer points of a resolution we’ve written that demands the repeal of all anti-immigrant legislation in the state of Arizona. The resolution, which we hope the city council will pass, calls for the city to proclaim itself a safe haven for all people, whether they have papers or not. We discuss and then approve the resolution unanimously, to great applause. We then move on to developing strategy for how to get the city council to pass it. From there we discuss the situation of some undocumented workers who have been unjustly treated and fired by the local Hampton Inn, and then to plans for a protest and march against SB 1070 in downtown Flagstaff for the coming Saturday. The facilitator (who is doubling as translator) gets us through the agenda so that we can end by 8:30. We all marvel at what a great job she did—and it was her first time. The meeting ends by “clapping it out,” or a slow, disorganized clap that increases in speed and synchronization, leading to a crescendo of group unity and power until it bursts into individual applause again, reminding us of how the individual and the collective are interdependent.

These meetings are inspiring, boring, disciplined, way off track, frustrating, empowering, intimidating, and awesome—often at the same time. Like I said, this is what democracy looks like.

The Repeal Coalition’s slogan is “Fight for the freedom to live, love, and work wherever you please.” But this slogan is meaningless without another: “All people deserve the right to have an equal say in those affairs that affect their daily lives.” Democracy is not voting for elites every four years while quietly fuming at the tyranny of your boss for 40 hours a week (more if you’re undocumented). It’s the ability of all people to have a say in those affairs that affect their daily life. At our meetings, we seek to live out this principle of radical democracy. It’s built into the very heart of the Repeal Coalition: the weekly meeting.

The Repeal Coalition has been meeting every week since March 2008. For the first few months there were between a dozen and 20 people. Sometimes there were four of us, staring at each other, wondering what the hell to do next. That was the case last January, for example. Thanks to an inside source, we knew the notorious bill that would soon be named SB 1070 was coming, even before it was made public. We talked about how we needed to build a movement to fight it. But there were just four of us. What the hell could we do?

And then in April the world discovered SB 1070, and we went from six people to 40 to 60 in two weeks (plus 20 kids—I spent several meetings doing childcare in the adjacent room, occasionally sticking my head in the meeting room to hear what was going on). The primary language went from English to Spanish. The college students, who were formerly a majority in the group, became outnumbered by servers and laundry workers.

Since then we’ve had at least 25 people at every meeting. We’re busy, but we’re nervous. July 29 approaches. People don’t know yet how they are going to keep their families together. They are scared to drive, so they aren’t even sure how they’ll get to work, how they’ll get their kids to school, how they’ll shop for groceries. Down in Phoenix, Sheriff Joe Arpaio calls July 29 the “magic day” when he can truly begin to sweep the streets clean of brown people.

Another political theorist, Carl Schmitt, argues that the real miracle in politics is what he calls “the exception.” This is when a ruler declares an “extreme emergency” and suspends the rule of law. SB 1070 isn’t quite a miracle in this respect, because it is the law, even if it does suspend liberty and decency. Regardless, July 29 is Arpaio’s miracle.

In the face of this, Repeal keeps meeting, planning, fighting, and conjuring our own miracle.

The question in Arizona right now, as July 29 approaches, is which miracle will win out, the miracle of grassroots democracy or the “miracle” of unrestrained state power; the miracle of a new Arizona, in which ordinary people—with “papers” or without—control the affairs that affect their daily lives, or of the old Arizona, in which nativist politicians and business interests determine how the rest of us live.

I’m not sure which Arizona will win. But I’m damn sure that I’m not going to leave it to the lawyers. I’ll see you at the next meeting.

Joel Olson is a member of the Repeal Coalition, which meets every Wednesday night. The Coalition can be reached at www.repealcoalition.org or repealcoalition@gmail.com.

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More on Jessica Colotl

From the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

New face on an old debate
Colotl case spotlights illegal immigration saga in Cobb County

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

7:36 a.m. Sunday, May 16, 2010

The recent arrest of Jessica Colotl is more than just the story of one young woman who ran afoul of police and is paying for it.

The 21-year-old Kennesaw State University student, an illegal immigrant, has become a reluctant participant in a national debate that shows no sign of abating. Cobb County — Georgia, too — finds itself on a national stage where the immigration saga plays out in headlines and arrests.

It’s a stage that for weeks has spotlighted Arizona’s controversial get-tough-on-illegals law. Now it includes metro Atlanta — specifically, Cobb County, where illegal immigrants and police have long had an uneasy relationship.

If immigration is a simmering caldron, Cobb is the pepper in the pot, a source of heat. The county is home to a tireless campaigner to tighten immigration laws and a sheriff who has made a career as a get-tough lawman. Opposite them is the president of KSU and thousands of illegal immigrants who have chosen to make Cobb home.

The case highlights how people can take the same facts and reach vastly different conclusions. Depending on whom you ask, Colotl is a victim of overzealous law enforcement, or a scofflaw who has taken advantage of the state’s university system — and taxpayers.

In the middle is Colotl, whose parents brought her here illegally when she was 10. She’s not sure she will remain in school.

“I just hope for the best,” Colotl said Friday at a rally held in her honor. “I hope something positive comes out of this because we really need reform.”

Protests, statements

The facts are well documented. A KSU police officer on March 29 stopped Colotl for impeding traffic and discovered her illegal status. Cobb deputies handed her to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. They took her to a detention center in Alabama. On May 1, they released her, and ICE officials announced she could remain in this country until she finishes school next year.

On Friday, Colotl turned herself in to Cobb authorities, who had charged her with lying about her address on a jail-booking form when police arrested her weeks earlier. She posted $2,500 bond.

None of this happened in a vacuum. Her sisters at Lambda Theta Alpha sorority demonstrated for Colotl’s release. The American Civil Liberties Union decried her arrest, claiming police abused the spirit of program 287(g). The federal program authorizes police to detain and arrest immigrants, especially those considered dangerous. A handful of agencies in Georgia, including the Cobb Sheriff’s Office, are participants.

KSU President Daniel Papp pushed for her release from the Alabama facility. When it came, he responded with ebullience.

“This is great news for Ms. Colotl, her family and friends and for the KSU community,” Papp said in a statement. “We are especially thrilled she will be allowed to continue her studies here at KSU.”

Case closed? It blew wide-open instead.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson said the state needed to focus on “key priorities like educating legal residents.” Editorials criticized a system that allowed illegal immigrants access to class and scholarships. Cable TV talkers had a new topic to hash out.

And, in Cobb, D.A. King turned to his computer.

“We suspect few Cobb County residents had any idea that it was so easy for those in this country illegally to enroll in our state’s colleges,” King, founder of the Dustin Inman Society, wrote on his blog. Created five years ago, the organization calls for stricter immigration laws.

“And we suspect,” King continued, “few Cobb residents realized their tax dollars are going to help educate such people.”

Regents blamed

In an interview, King held the Board of Regents, the panel that oversees the state’s universities, responsible for the Colotl controversy.

“The Board of Regents is in violation of state and federal law for allowing illegals into our system,” said King. “I think Jessica Colotl may have done the state of Georgia a favor by bringing this to the forefront.”

John Millsaps, a spokesman for the Board of Regents, said the state’s universities are not in the business of checking students’ immigration status. Universities would have to check on the residency status of 300,000-plus students, or run the risk of racial profiling, he said. As a result, the universities don’t know how many students may be illegal.

“What do we need to know about a student?” Millsaps asked. “We need to know whether to charge them in-state or out-of-state tuition.”

In 2007, the Board of Regents changed policy so illegal immigrants at Georgia public universities could not receive in-state tuition. Illegal immigrants are charged at the higher, out-of-state rate.

Colotl, of Duluth, had enrolled a year earlier as a Georgia student, so KSU charged her in-state tuition.

“Now that we’re aware of her out-of-state status, she will pay out-of-state tuition,” Millsaps said. The tuition for in-state KSU students next fall is $2,298; for out-of-staters, $8,286.

The Legislature four years ago passed a bill that ended state-paid benefits to illegal immigrants in several areas. It allowed the Board of Regents to develop its own policy toward illegal immigrants.

Now, with Colotl in the news, people who would be governor are taking notice. At least three gubernatorial candidates in this year’s election say people like Colotl have no place in state universities.

Enforcement, harassment?

The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials calls Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren “Wild West Warren.” The name, said GALEO executive director Jerry Gonzalez, is apt. “We have a rogue sheriff.”

The Colotl case, he said, highlights what has been going on for years in Cobb.

“The violations of the law [in Colotl’s case] are very minor,” Gonzalez said. “She is not a criminal.”

Warren has made no apologies for his department’s dealings with illegal immigrants. “I value any tool that helps me enforce the law and remove violators from our community,” he said in a written statement.

The sheriff’s response, said KSU political science professor Kerwin Swint, was classic Warren, and a lot of residents appreciate his stance. “He’s a no-nonsense, enforce-the-law person,” said Swint, who moved to Cobb County more than 20 years ago.

Relations between illegal immigrants and the community have been tense for years. Marietta police have ticketed contractors who hire illegal laborers off city streets. The recent cooling of the economy, said Swint, has heightened competition for jobs — and that could exacerbate relations that are hardly friendly.

The Colotl case highlights the need for the federal government to deal with illegal immigration, said Republican political strategist Heath Garrett. And it only further polarizes people who don’t agree on the issue already.

“It brings out the strongest emotions of the average voter on both sides of the issue,” said Garrett, who lives in Marietta. “It becomes very difficult for authorities ... to do anything other than go by the letter of the law.”

At Kennesaw State, several students said they think Colotl deserves a break.

“This is her home, not Mexico,” said senior Willie Myrick, 22, studying for a midterm exam in a student lounge. “At least she is here trying to do something productive.”

“She should be allowed to stay,” said sophomore Brittany Hill, 18. “She’s got around in the system this long.”

She’s broken the law and needs to face the consequences, responded Seth Snyder. He was taking in the sun on a recent afternoon at Marietta Square.

“No question: At 10, she [Colotl] didn’t make a choice to come here,” said Snyder, 24 and a student. “But I can’t feel bad if she’s deported. ... It is hard to respect people when you assume they are breaking the most basic law of the land: being allowed entry.”

The debate also has moved from campus and town squares to that global forum, Facebook. A page supporting Papp and Colotl debuted last week. By Friday afternoon, it had 272 members.

Another page, supporting Arizona’s tough immigration stance, had 396.

Staff writers Rhonda Cook, Jim Galloway and Andria Simmons contributed to this article.

Macon Telegraph Story on Colotl, March

The Macon Telegraph has a good story on the recent May Day march in Atlanta and the Jessica Colotl case. I posted information on Colotl, a Kennesaw State University student, earlier. Folks not from Georgia should also call their representative and Obama as well. The Macon story is reprinted below.

Thousands protest strict Ariz. immigration law in Georgia
Sunday, May 2, 2010


ATLANTA — Jessica Coltl studied hard and dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but her plans were put on hold about a month ago when she was arrested for driving without a license and sent to an immigration detention center.

Coltl, a 21-year-old senior at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta, was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. After her arrest, she was taken to an immigration detention center in Alabama and on Tuesday a judge denied her bond, said sorority sister Lila Parra.

“My heart just breaks,” Parra said. “She fought so hard and did so well academically and to get shut down in her senior year, it’s just not fair.”

Choltl’s parents brought her to the U.S. when she was 10. Two of her three younger siblings were born here and are American citizens, Parra said.

Parra and about 30 other Lambda Theta Alpha sorority members from several different universities joined a rally at the Georgia Capitol on Saturday to march and rally in favor of federal immigration reform. The event was one of many planned around the country to protest a strict new immigration law in Arizona and to call on lawmakers to reform federal immigration laws. The rallies were held May 1 because it’s a traditional day of protest and International Workers Day.

Police and organizers estimated that about 5,000 people participated. Protesters carried American flags and signs demanding legalization for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. and an end to deportations.

State Rep. Pedro Marin, one of a handful of Hispanic members of the Georgia Legislature, addressed the rally Saturday, calling on the crowd to register to vote and to actually cast ballots to ensure that lawmakers hear their voices.

“We cannot allow Georgia to turn into Arizona,” Marin said, referring to the new law in Arizona that makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and lets police question anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant.

The Arizona law’s passage has galvanized immigrant rights groups across the country, prompting calls to boycott Arizona businesses and protests outside Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games.

Many in Arizona support the law amid growing anger over the federal government’s failure to secure the border. The state has become a major gateway for drug smuggling and human trafficking from Mexico.

In the final days of the legislative session this week, the Georgia Senate passed a resolution to urge Washington to secure the borders because Georgia “is unable to withstand the financial burden created by illegal immigration.” The resolution urges President Obama and Congress to devote more resources to tightening immigration control.

Cabinet maker Fernando Baltazar, 25, came to the Atlanta rally with his wife, Evelina. He arrived in the U.S. 10 years ago on a work visa but didn’t leave after it expired.

“I think the marches are very important because we want the people in Congress to hear us,” Baltazar said in Spanish. “We need immigration reform because there are so many of us here who just want to work and want to be able to do that legally.”

Stop the Deportation of Jessica Colotl

This just came in from GLAHR. Please take action (at the bottom) and forward widely.

Jessica is a 21-year-old senior at Kennesaw State University who has been looking forward to graduating this coming fall. She is majoring in political science and minoring in French. She is a founding sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc., and plans to continue her education and become a lawyer. Her friends affirm that she is a brilliant young woman, an excellent student who studies hard. In addition to studying, in order to pay her tuition, Jessica works nights with her mother, as a janitor, cleaning office buildings in the Atlanta Metro Area. Jessica grew up here in Georgia and has never been in trouble with the law.

So, why is Jessica sitting behind bars in a detention center in Gadsden, Alabama awaiting deportation to a country she hasn’t seen in over 10 years?

Jessica came to the United States as a little girl, more than 10 years ago, with her mother. She has lived, studied, and worked here ever since, contributing to her community, enriching her friends’ lives, paying taxes, living her life.

And then on Monday, March 29th, everything changed.

That day, a Kennesaw State University campus police officer ‘pulled her over’ when she was parking in the University parking lot. According to the officer, she was “impeding the flow of traffic.”

She was asked for her license and when she informed the officer she did not have one she was told to come to his office the day after or he would issue an arrest warrant for her. Jessica went to the office on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 and told the truth. She explained there was no possible way for her to obtain a license because, though she had lived almost all of her life in Georgia, she was legally undocumented. The officer charged with campus security proceeded to detain her. She was arrested and jailed in Cobb County where the county’s 287(g) agreement allows for local sheriffs to enforce federal immigration law. From there she was put directly into deportation proceedings and has been behind bars ever since.

Yesterday afternoon, an immigration judge denied her bond and ordered her to leave the country within 30 days. She is being sent back to Mexico, a country she hasn’t been to since she was 10 years old, only months before she is to graduate from college.

Why is Jessica being deported? Has she committed some terrible crime? Is she ‘sapping precious state resources’ from citizens? Is Jessica the “illegal alien” we’re told we should fear?


Jessica is a hard working, smart college student who enriches the state of Georgia and the United States of America by her presence and her contributions. We want Jessica’s nightmare to end. She represents the kind of young person that makes Georgia a better place; she should be allowed to remain in the state and country in which she grew up.

We support Jessica, we march for Jessica, we fight for Jessica to remain in Georgia!

Contact representative John Lewis at (404) 659-0116 or (202) 225-3801 and ask him to:

1) GET INVOLVED in Jessica Colotl’s case! Tell him to contact DHS and STOP her deportation!

2) SPONSOR the Dream Act to help students like Jessica and thousands of others!

May Day March for Immigrant Freedom

This information is pulled from the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. The march is set for May Day, May 1. 10am at the Capitol Building in downtown Atlanta. Here's GLAHR's info:







STOP 287G!


Full immigration reform for all now! Stop the raids and deportations!
You are invited to march and rally in Atlanta, May 1st. at 10 AM.
Join thousands in front of the Capitol Building and urge GA Senators to take leadership and move legislation forward in 2010. Keep families together and help our American economy. :)

For info contact GHLAR or ABLE
or call: 770-457-5232

March and Rally Details:

9:30- 10:00am Prayer for ABLE
10:30- 11:00am - Prayer
11:00-1 pm - homage to Martin Luther King Jr. during the march
1:00 - 2:30pm - RALLY IN THE CAPITOL
2:30 - 3:00pm - clean up

What you can bring:
Personal water and/or food
plastic bag for your trash
White Balloons
Musical Instruments
White Clothes or a White T-Shirt
Here are some examples:
(but please dont use sticks for the posters or the balloons)

What you can do during the march:

We need people to pass out the papers with the songs that will be sung during the march
Keep your cool and not respond to insults or threats

What NOT to do during the march:

How you can help prior to the March:
Donations to afford cops in the area, sound equipment, etc (with ABLE and GHLAR)
Volunteers to distribute flyers to our community and stores
Volunteers to install equipment and after-march clean up
To offer your help contact GLAHR at 770-457-5232



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Call the Flagstaff City Council

According to a member of the The Repeal Coalition, Rush Limbaugh called the Flagstaff (Arizona) City Council "turncoats" and urged people to express their hatred. They received 100 calls over two days, all against the injunction. They also got death threats. Wherever you are, please call the City of Flagstaff and tell them you support an injunction to stop SB 1070. Their number is 928-779-7600.

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