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Tucson Immigrants' Rights Advocates Protest in Song

Protesters sang patriotic songs in front of Sen. John McCain's office in Tucson to protest immigration raids. (Indivisible Southern Arizona)
Protesters sang patriotic songs in front of Sen. John McCain's office in Tucson to protest immigration raids. (Indivisible Southern Arizona)
February 13, 2017

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Dozens of protesters serenaded Sen. John McCain's Tucson office with patriotic songs on Sunday as a way of speaking out against the latest wave of immigration raids that swept up hundreds of people in six states over five days last week.

Officials at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, said the semi-annual raids are routine. However, Kristen Randall, coordinator with with the citizens' advocacy group Indivisible Arizona, said these raids were broader than those conducted under the Obama administration.

"Even though they're saying they're rounding up people that have criminal histories, they're not just rounding up violent criminals,” Randall said. "They're rounding up mothers and family people whose only crime was coming to this country and trying to have a job."

Randall pointed to the case of a Phoenix mother of two American citizens whose only crime was using a false social security number to get a job. She had previously been allowed to stay in the country as long as she checked in regularly with immigration authorities. But last week, she was deported.

President Trump tweeted that this is a fulfillment of a campaign promise to target gang members, drug dealers and others. But Randall said many ordinary families are terrified by the raids.

"There's people who are afraid to go out, to leave their homes,” she said. "Their children are American citizens. They’re worried they'll be separated from their families. And right now people are extremely afraid."

The protesters are asking Sen. McCain to lead the charge in reviving efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. And they said they want ICE to go back to the Obama-era policy of primarily deporting undocumented people convicted of violent felonies.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ