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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

According to a report by Rewire News, a Latina activist on reproductive justice was detained this week after she visited the Immigration and Customs office in Tucson, Arizona. The report noted that the check-in had been planned and scheduled in advance but when activist Alejandra Pablos came to the office, she was detained by ICE members. People close to Pablos point to her activism as the possible reason behind her detention.

Pablos, who is affiliated with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), also works for the pro-choice program known as “We Testify” which shares stories and accounts on abortion access through the National Network of Abortion Funds. Her network NLIRH condemned her detention and released a statement on Wednesday. The group said, “Our hermana en la lucha and poderosa Alejandra was detained in Arizona earlier this morning by ICE. Alejandra is a powerful immigrant and reproductive justice organizer who has done incredible work for the Latinx community in Arizona and Virginia. Right now, we are asking you to join us in supporting Alejandra so that we can bring her home.”

On Facebook, Pablos’ video circulated among her allies in which she says that ICE misled and detained her at the Tucson office. She added that office was “trying to really separate me and tear our movement apart, tear our community apart, and I’m not letting that happen.” Originally from Mexico, Splinter News wrote that Pablos’ activist background could put her in a particularly precarious situation if she is deported. In April 2017, The Nation published a report on the dangers Mexican activists face after deportation, including “no support from the [Mexican] government.”

Yet Pablos isn’t alone. Under Donald Trump’s increased ICE operations, activists like Maru Mora Villalpando, Eliseo Jurado, Jean Montrevil, and Ravi Ragbir have been targeted, according to the Detention Watch Network. These series of arrests and attacks suggest a broader and more worrisome theme, according to NLIRH. The organization spoke with Rewire News and said that the pattern pointed to a deliberate practice of targeted intimidation, harassment, and isolation led by the government.

“Alejandra isn’t the only one. Detainment is also evidence of ICE’s pattern of singling out immigrant leaders for being outspoken and fearless community mobilizers. In recent months, ICE detained prominent immigrant activist Maru Mora-Villalpando for her ‘extensive involvement with anti-ICE protests and Latino advocacy programs,’” NLIRH said.

In her Facebook video, Pablos implored her viewers to show solidarity against the ICE crackdowns. “[ICE is] retaliating against all activists,” she said, “all organizers, people who have advocacy and who are out there fighting.”

“I need you to stand up for me,” Pablos urged her audience. “I need you to fight for me. As I’m fighting inside, you can fight outside.”

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