Why I was arrested

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by Rocío Inclán/image by Sewell B. Johnson

A week ago today I was arrested outside the U.S. Capitol.

I was not alone. I joined 105 women — grandmothers, mothers, daughters — from all walks of life and every nationality and ethnic group.

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Call 1.866.632.6057 and urge your representative to support an up-or-down vote on an immigration bill with a path to citizenship for our students and their families.

We claimed the street outside the Capitol to demonstrate that we would not move until the House schedules a vote on a comprehensive immigration bill. When the police asked us to move, we refused and were arrested.

I did it for David. I did it for Carlos. I did it for my former students. I did it for the students in your classrooms who aspire to become Americans too.

I met David, a DREAMer, this summer. He wants to become a doctor. Thanks to his teacher’s encouragement, he stayed in school, graduated top of his class and is now enrolled in Cornell University to become a doctor. Unless we pass a commonsense immigration bill, he’ll never get to become a citizen and contribute in the way he wants to the country he loves.

There are more than enough votes in the House to pass immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for DREAMer students and their families. It’s time to give it an up or down vote.

Through this action I was saying the time is NOW!

Leading up to our act of mass civil disobedience, I was incredibly nervous and was attacked by some momentary doubts — what will my sister say? What will my former school colleagues think? But women take risks every day to contribute to the well-being and success of our families and loved ones.

I don’t expect everyone to do what I did. But you can help.

Will you add your voice to the call for the House to act? Pick up the phone and dial 1-866-632-6057. Tell your representative to bring an immigration bill to the floor.

Inclán, a former elementary school teacher in Arizona, is the director of NEA’s Human and Civil Rights department.

Reader Comments

  1. The immigration system is not broken but certainly abused by those who have come to our country without legal documentation. This is a situation of their own making and one that now in which they do not wish to face the legal consequences of their own illegal actions. I support amnesty but not necessarily a quick path to citizenship. In exchange for amnesty, those who oppose illegal immigration should make the following demands:
    1. Future illegal immigration would be a minor felony and arrest would be followed by immediate deportation. A second offense would mean jail time and lose of all personal property,followed by deportation.
    2. Children born in the USA must have at least one citizen parent to gain citizenship.
    3. If businesses are to be fined for employing undocumented workers, the workers should be also fined, followed by deportation.
    4. End family re-unification and make the priority for future immigration one of skills needed.
    5. Punish visa over-stayers also with deportation.
    6. A statement forbidding the federal government from ever again passing an amnesty bill.
    7. A law that continues to allow hospitals and clinics to give treatment to all, but also requires the patient to identify himself as a citizen, legal alien or undocumented alien.
    The goal of comprehensive immigration reform should be two-fold, a just treatment of the 11 million plus undocumented immigrants presently in this country coupled with strict laws that would prevent us from facing this same problem in the future.
    There are billions of people in this world and we can not accept them all. Now is the time to again take charge of our own destiny. Now is the time for us to once again to re-emphasize the importance of being an American and of protecting and providing for our own citizens.

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