Over the last month, there has been an increase in unaccompanied children attempting to cross the border into the U.S. Many of these children are coming from countries in Central America. The situation has subsequently led to a flurry of news reports on who is at fault, how the problem can be solved, and how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Since the issues have arisen, there have also been increased protests throughout the country. One recent protest was held in Phoenix and those who participated in the demonstration were calling for the end of deportations.
As azcentral.com reports, around 25 people got together at the Interstate 10 overpass on Seventh Street in downtown Phoenix with a banner that hung over the freeway asking President Obama to “stop separating Phoenix families.” The banner read: “Stop Separating Families. #Not1More.” There was also a call for Congress to finally come to resolution with immigration reform.
The protest was organized through the help of Promise Arizona, a non-profit group “that aims to improve the lives of immigrant families and push for new legislation surrounding the issue.” According to their website, their mission is encouraging “diversity, opportunity, and progress” with all that they do. Event organizer, Nora Realzola said that it is important that they alert leaders in Arizona and in Congress about the reality of the situation and what really happens to families when fathers, mothers, and children are separated from each other.
Those who attend these kinds of protests and join demonstrations will often have personal stories of how they can relate to issue at hand. This is true for Anita Ritter, 73, who can remember how it felt growing up in a “divided Arizona.” Ritter came with her parents and siblings to the U.S. at a young age. She remembers that at school, the teachers would keep Hispanic students separate from the White students. The children were told not to speak Spanish at all. Ritter recalls how her and her siblings were punished for even speaking to each other in Spanish.
Ritter said it was difficult for her and her family to lead a normal life in Arizona at that time. She said that there was one time when “an immigration official tore up her uncle's Arizona birth certificate.” She said she is motivated to attend protests and rallies like the one in Phoenix to “stand up for parents who can't stand up for themselves.” She said that parents travel to the U.S. in order to provide a better life for their children.
Another person in the crowd was Selena Hernandez. Even though she is only 12 years old, she has already formed strong opinions on this issue. “It's frustrating to see this happen,” she said. “We want Obama [to] start putting pressure on congressmen.”
Although the president had just recently requested funding in the amount of $3.7 billion to help with the recent border crisis, the protesters in attendance said that is not enough.