Late last night, Arizona-based immigrant rights activist Erika Andiola posted the following Facebook update: “My house just got raided by ICE and they took my mom and my brother. They had no reason to do this!! … I can’t believe that this is happ[en]ing to me!!!”
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided Erika’s home and detained two of her family members. Now her mother, Maria Andiola, and brother, Heribierto Andiola, face deportation.
Erika is a nationally recognized immigrant rights leader in Arizona and co-founder of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, who has championed efforts to create greater access to educational opportunities for immigrant students. She was an honors student who enrolled at Arizona State University with dreams of becoming a high school counselor, but lost her scholarships when Arizona passed a slew of anti-immigrant laws. Instead of losing hope, Erika became involved with Promise Arizona, a grassroots civic engagement organization, to organize a new generation of leaders and register Latinos to vote in Arizona. Despite losing her scholarships, Erika graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. degree in Psychology in spring 2009.
In 2010, Erika was arrested inside the U.S. Senate Office Building after participating in a civil disobedience action in support of the DREAM Act in 2010. She has also stood up to politicians who oppose the DREAM Act, including Kris Kobach and Mitt Romney. In 2011, she was a recipient of Public Interest Projects’ first Freedom from Fear Award that honors ordinary people who have committed extraordinary acts of courage on behalf of immigrants and refugees – individuals who have taken a risk, set an example, and inspired others to awareness or action.
Most recently, Maria Andiola stood with her daughter Erika at the United We Dream Congress in Kansas City and pledged her support to a crowd of more than 600 undocumented youth, “I have learned so much from my daughter, Erika. . . She is my idol. I admire her so much, because she was born with a gift of being a leader, a fighter and a warrior.” Read more here.
Public Interest Projects condemns the ICE raid on Erika’s home. We call on ICE to cease all deportation proceedings against Maria and Heribierto Andiola immediately and to grant them formal administrative relief. We also call on the President and Congress to enact genuine immigration reform. Far too many children and young people, like Erika, live in fear that their families will be torn apart. Far too many parents live with the constant threat of losing their homes, their families, and their children due to a well-financed enforcement bureaucracy that is not deploying its resources and personnel appropriately. We owe it to hardworking parents who come to this country seeking the American Dream for their families and children to create a pathway to citizenship. The time is now to stop the mass deportation of immigrants. We also encourage you to please help stop the deportation of Maria and Heribierto Andiola, Erika’s mother and brother, by signing this petition from the United We Dream Network.
Last year, the Obama Administration set yet another all-time record for deportations, with removals rising from 30,039 in 1990 to 409,849 in 2012. Recent data from Colorlines.com found that in two years, 23 percent of all deportations – or 204,810 deportations – were issued for parents whose children are US citizens.