My name is Antonio Gutierrez. I’m here today with all of you to tell the community, to tell ICE, to tell president Obama that enough is enough! 2 million deportations are too many.
I remember in 2008 Obama asked the nation and our communities to move forward to hope for change. To believe in him as the ambassador of change for those that need it the most: the working class, immigrants, and minorities. I am afraid to say that he was honest; there has been change, but change for the worse. It is a change that has deported my cousin that has deported Octavio, a change that forced Israel out of the country. It is that change that allows ICE to raid apartment buildings on Chicago’s north side and tear hardworking fathers like Anibal away from their children. It is change that placed Anibal in a deportation center for weeks and then under criminal supervision through an ankle bracelet and continuous visits to his home. And this change not only has affected Illinois but the whole nation.
There are 2 million deportation procedures like Anibal’s, Octavio’s, and Israel’s around the nation. It is a change that has separated 2 million families. It is a change that continuously criminalizes our community, all because they are trying to provide a better life for their families. 2 million families are now separated, 2 million people are now displaced, hundreds of thousands of American children now cry for their dad, their mom, their sibling, their neighbor because they didn’t come home.
I am now telling President Obama that we don’t want this change, we don’t want your hope if this is what hope and change look like. I don’t want to be afraid that I might lose another family member, a friend, a lover, and a community member tomorrow. I don’t want to get another call tomorrow that someone else was detained, deported or displaced. I don’t want to get another call from my aunt telling me that they have deported my cousin. Crying, she told me she never got to see him in person one more time after he was detained to tell him how much she loves him. A mother should be able to look her son in the eye, every single day, and tell him she loves him. This is what the terror of deportations means for us. It means never knowing when is the last time you’ll give someone a hug, never knowing when you’ll leave home for work and never come back.
President Obama, stop deportations! Give deferred action to all. Give my community the same opportunity to give back to this society by giving the community a work permit and the stability of dignified living like you did to us, the dreamers. Give the community the hope and change we expected in 2008. Stop separating families and stop terrorizing my community.
My name is Antonio Gutierrez. I’m undocumented and I believe 2 million is too many.
Photo Credit: Gaby Benitez