Going to Trial in Chicago and Alabama this Week

The 12 parents and students who were arrested in Montgomery, Alabama last November, including Chicago-based activist Martin Unzueta, will facing criminal court on Monday February 27th. Later that same week, on Friday March 2nd the 6 Chicago students who were arrested during the protest against Secure Communities last fall will challenge charges of ‘mob action.’

Montgomery, AL.- Twelve undocumented youth and parents will be facing trial in Montgomery, Alabama today, Monday February 27, 2012. They were arrested last November during a civil disobedience and rally demanding an end to HB56, considered the harshest anti-immigrant bill in the nation. Four of the twelve, including Chicago worker’s rights organizer Martin Unzueta, will be declaring themselves innocent to the charges of disorderly conduct.

Although the protesters have made their undocumented status public, immigration authorities have not been involved. Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange made a statement to the Montgomery Advertiser stating that the reason for lack of involvement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is that the protesters are “legal U.S. residents,” but organizers and participants say that this statement is a lie used to undermine the power of undocumented immigrants.

“When we are united, informed and organized, even government officials are fearful of the power of our immigrant communities,” said Martin Unzueta, director at the labor rights organization Chicago Community and Worker’s Rights. He and a small Chicago contingent arrived in Alabama early to share their knowledge advocating for immigrant worker’s rights.

Five days later, 6 more undocumented student protesters will be facing trial in Chicago. Fanny Lopez-Martinez (22), Jorge Mena (24), Arianna Salgado (19), Ireri Unzueta Carrasco (24), Carla Navoa (22), and Miguel Martinez (20) were arrested as part of a protest and walk out against the Secure Communities program last August.

The 6 are facing charges of mob action and obstruction of traffic, and have not been contacted by DHS thus far. Their last court date was postponed due to a missing police officer called as witness for the prosecution. The six are community organizers with the Immigrant Youth Justice League, Nuestra Voz, and the Latin@ Youth Action League, three immigrant rights organizations working in Chicago, Melrose Park and the West Suburbs, and DuPage County respectively.

*** The Chicago 6 and Alabama 12 Martin Unzueta will be available to speak to the press on Friday March 02, 2012 before the trial, between 8:00-9:00 AM. The Chicago 6 trial will begin at 9:00 AM at the Cook County Criminal Courts, at 2650 S. California Avenue. ***


Martin Unzueta, in Montgomery, AL.

(left-right) Fanny Martinez, Arianna Salgado, Miguel Martinez, and Ireri Unzueta in Chicago, IL.

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