This is the testimony/ call for a walk out by Alaa Mukahhal, given at the public hearing on Secure Communities in Chicago, August 17th, 2011. After this call, over 300 people walked out of the meeting to join a civil disobedience by undocumented students outside.
My name is Alaa and I’m undocumented. Today, I am here for my mother and father who spent the last 18 years living in anxiety and fear, afraid that our family is next. I’m here for my mother who when I told her about Secure Communities becoming mandatory, she put her head in her hands and asked me “When are they going to leave us alone?” I sat there and I listened to her tell me all the friends and family she knew who were caught and deported. They weren’t criminals; they were fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. You would never accept this life for yourselves or for your families, so why would you accept it for your neighbors and communities?
Enough! Enough with the lies to us and to yourselves that somehow you will fix something that is designed to deport our families.
I can’t in good conscience stay at a hearing that’s a front for something so irreparable and insecure. Sometimes words are not enough, hearings are not enough, press conferences and speeches are not enough. I am here today with my undocumented friends, because there comes time when we need to take greater action. We are tired of fear, and today, today we will break that fear from Secure Communities. I and five others are going to walk outside of this building right now.
We are going to intentionally block traffic and put ourselves under arrest, knowing full well that under Secure Communities, this act of protest, this minor offence, will mean that that we could get placed in deportation. This is the risk that immigrants all across the country take every day.
We ask the community to follow us outside, and we ask the people on the task force to have courage for your communities and do the right thing. We resign from this hearing, we think you should resign too and join us outside. We have letter demanding the resignation of the task force signed by over 150 organizations nationwide. We will walk out because we are undocumented unafraid unapologetic. Join us!
UPDATE: Earlier in September as a report on the program was released, 5 of the members of the commission resigned, saying that the recommendations in the report were not enough. That includes Arturo Venegas, whose resignation letter you can read here. Although the work still continues, the resignations are a direct result of the opposition and mobilization here in Chicago and accross the country by undocumented youth and our allies. End Secure Communities now!
Alaa is an organizer with the Immigrant Youth Justice League. Photo: Sarah Ji