[UPDATE: In a press call today, Erika told reporters that ICE agents did, in fact, know all about Erika's activism. From the press event:
“Not only did ICE have profiles of my mother and brother, but also of me,” Erika said. “They told my brother, ‘We know all about your sister, we know about what your sister does, and you should get away from that.’"
A recording of the call is available here.]
Last night Maria Arreola, mother of Erika Andiola, a leader of United We Dream, was arrested in her home and taken away by ICE. Erika's brother was also arrested. Neither have a criminal record. From Elise Foley at Huffington Post:
ICE agents detained Maria Arreola and Heriberto Andiola Arreola, the mother and brother of advocacy group DRM Capitol founder Erika Andiola. The agency released Heriberto on Friday morning after Erika and others gathered outside the Department of Homeland Security offices in Phoenix to demand their release. Maria will be released soon, ICE confirmed to The Huffington Post Friday.
"We need to do something, we need to stop separating families," Erika, an Arizona State University graduate, said in a tearful video posted after her mother and brother were detained. "This is real. This is so real. This is not just happening to me, this is happening to families everywhere."
The immigrant rights community quickly sprang to action after the family's detention. Members planned a protest Friday morning outside the DHS office in Phoenix and posted a number and script for those who wanted to call ICE to ask for them to be released.
ICE claims the arrests have nothing to do with the role Erika plays in United We Dream. Perhaps that is true, but if so it shows that the agency is frequently ignoring its own policy to focus on criminal aliens. The truth is that many people are still being deported who are only immigration violators. But it's also easy to believe that the arresting ICE agents knew exactly what they were doing and targeted Erika's family to send a message of intimidation. And if that's the case, my description of Erika's mom in the title to this story would be spot on. Click here if you want to let Secretary Napolitano know you don't approve.