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Immigrant Families and Youth to Expose Themselves to Arrest, Protesting Rampant Family Separation


Youth Press Conference at 11:30am; Civil Disobedience to begin after news conference, approximately at 1pm

Part of Immigrant Rights Coalition’s Phase of Action, ‘STOP SEPARATING FAMILIES’


WASHINGTON – Today, young people at the center of the immigration debate are again exposing themselves to arrest, this time inside the U.S. Capitol complex. Some of the young people, who grew up in communities from Palmdale to Kalamazoo, have gone through the pain and anguish of losing a parent to deportation. Others live in fear of losing someone.

Following a press conference at 11:30am (LOCATION CHANGED to 212 E Capitol NE due to rain) with supporters, families and leaders – including UFW President Arturo Rodríguez and volunteers from Virginia Organizing – the families will engage in an enhanced act of protest against family separation, part of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement’s (FIRM) phase of escalation, STOP SEPARATING FAMILIES. The act of civil disobedience is an outcry against a broken immigration system that works every day to separate their families.

Read this Washington Post story and video with insights into the lives of children who go through the tragedy of losing their parents to deportation: The story ran on May 4, 2014, with interviews of another set of young leaders who risked arrest as part of the STOP SEPARATING FAMILIES effort.

In light of the family separation crisis, FIRM has called for a National Day to Stop Separating Families, June 28, where groups across the movement will coalesce in action. June 28th is the deadline our movement gave House Republicans for movement on immigration reform. Meantime, we demand that President Obama take immediate action against the needless deportation crisis that his administration has overseen.

“Ever since FIRM ramped up activity for relief last year, our young leaders have risen to the occasion and expressed desire to continue their advocacy in the form of civil disobedience. For our families, who live with the unbearable fear of losing loved ones every day, this is an empowering way to protest a broken system that works to break families apart. Our youth have become leaders in the movement because they want to stop the growing crisis in their communities that senseless and rampant deportations have caused,” said Kica Matos of FIRM.


UFW President President Arturo S. Rodriguez and farm workers Miguel Leonel Moran Toscano, Favio Calderon Villanueva and Reynaldo Arevalo are participating in today’s civil disobedience action. Each participant has their own special viewpoint on why they’re taking a stand for immigration reform.

"Last week, we targeted 22 House Republicans at their district offices with rallies and civil disobedience actions across the county.  We called on them to call Speaker Boehner to schedule a vote on real immigration reform. Today, we’re  in Washington to follow up to make sure they made that call. We’re not going to rest until Boehner schedules an immigration reform vote," said Rodriguez. 

"We need immigration reform now because we came to march and be arrested because it’s been time since there has been talk about reform but nothing has happen. We hope that tomorrow actions for there to be an agreement on immigration reform, " said Villanueva Calderon.

"I want immigration reform to happen for all those people who are living in limbo. The ones, who don’t have a voice or a vote and are always living in everyday day that ICE will pick them up and deport them." said Arevalo.

"I believe the reason it is important now is to stop separating families. Because god gave a child a mother and a parent to take care of them and it is not justified just because of their documentation for them to be separate. That is why this is important that everyone who can give a vote to pass immigration reform, they should not deny these people this right," said Moran Toscano.

The family-separation crisis is a very real burden to a generation of parents and children. On one hand, President Obama’s policies lead to scores of needless deportations and family separations. On the other hand, Republicans are abdicating their responsibility to legislate, and instead take up the family separation mantle as a party platform. Together, they’ve manufactured a painful moral crisis in our communities, and youth like those involved in today’s event suffer the tragic consequences. In today’s event, they are showing their strength and raising their voices, with one clear message to those holding up reform: STOP SEPARATING FAMILIES.


Morning media availability

Who:                    Youth and families affected by the broken immigration system, as well as supporters

When:                  10:20am-11am

Where:                Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 E Capitol St NE

RSVP:                   Reporters planning to attend meeting are encouraged to RSVP via email to

Press Conference

Who:                    Youth and families affected by the broken immigration system, as well as supporters.

Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers

Note: Participants include volunteers from FIRM, Virginia Organizing and the UFW.

When:                  Wednesday, June 11, 11:30am

 Where:              212 E Capitol St. NE, lower level.

Visuals:                Young people, immigrant families, allies and advocates holding pictures of missing loved ones, handmade signs and banners reading messages like “Stop Separating Families.” There will be supporters in attendance, witnessing the press conference.


RSVP:                   Reporters planning to attend meeting should RSVP via email to


On-site contact: Ricardo Ramírez,, 202-905-1738


Civil Disobedience (Reminder: This information is embargoed until after 1:30)


Who:                    Youth, Immigrant Families, advocates and allies will participate in civil disobedience, including FIRM families, UFW President Arturo Rodriguez, UFW volunteers, and Virginia Organizing volunteers


When:                  Wednesday, June 11, AFTER news conference and two preliminary office visits. Estimated time: 1:15pm.


Where:                Participants will gather at 1pm before heading to Speaker Boehner’s congressional office, 1011 Longworth.


Visuals:                Young people, immigrant families, allies and advocates occupying in an office. They will wear white t-shirts reading “STOP SEPARATING FAMILIES.”


RSVP:                   Reporters planning to attend should RSVP via email to


On-site contact: Ricardo Ramírez,, 202-905-1738


Social Media Accounts to follow for pictures and updates:

Fair Immigration Reform Movement on Facebook (link) and Twitter (@re4mimmigration)

Reform Immigration for America on Facebook (link) and Twitter (@RI4A)

United Farm Workers on Facebook (link) and Twitter (@UFWupdates)

Center for Community Change on Facebook (link) and Twitter (@CommunityChange)

Center for Community Change Action on Facebook (link) and Twitter (@CCCAction)


Hashtag: #YouthInAction