Supporters of Couple Ordered Deported Stage Direct Action Protest, Win Brief Court Stay

Posted Sept. 27, 2017

MP3 Speeches by Erick and Jason Ramos, sons of Giaconda and Franklin Ramos, who faced deportation order, recorded and produced by Melinda Tuhus


Before this year, most undocumented immigrants who have been caught up in the U.S. legal system for years or decades, were allowed to stay in the U.S. as long as they regularly checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, because they weren’t deemed a priority for enforcement. But under the Trump administration, many have now become targets for deportation. People who have no criminal record, are gainfully employed, paying taxes and integral members of their communities now face separation from their families by being forced to return to a country they haven’t lived in or visited for years.

The Ramos family of Meriden, Connecticut, is one such family. After 24 years in the U.S. with two U.S.-born sons, Giaconda and Franklin Ramos were ordered to leave the country on Sept. 29. Four days before their deportation, about 150 of their supporters held a rally at the federal building in Hartford. Three dozen of those supporters committed civil disobedience by blocking the entrance to the building and were arrested. Soon after that action, an immigration judge in New York granted them a stay of at least three weeks so their lawyer can continue to press their case.

Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus attended the rally, as well as a vigil outside the family's home three days earlier, where one of their sons, Erick, a 17-year-old college freshman, described his family's ordeal. He’s followed by his older brother, 24-year-old Jason, who spoke at the rally before being arrested. [Rush transcript.]

ERICK RAMOS: I just want to thank everyone for coming here tonight. It really humbles me to see such a huge crowd and such a big manifestation and unification in front of my own eyes. You know, as a son, my parents always taught me to care for one another, and unity really is the way you want to approach life because succeeding personally – it is something that is nice and something that is a goal – but to share your resources with people who may not have had it as good as you, that makes that success that much better and that much sweeter.

Now it's really setting in that I can count the days on my two hands that my parents are going to leave me. And at this point I still need to stand strong, because this isn’t just for my family as you can see – it's many other families in this town, many other families in this state. We see in front of our own eyes human rights not being treated the way they should be. There’s no such thing as an illegal human being. You can’t be a second-class citizen because we are all humans. (Applause).

I really appreciate you guys’ support. Every day, it goes by quick for me and my brother, at least for me it feels like it goes by too quick. (Cries) You know, trying to help your parents cope, now it’s to the point that I can count the days on my hand, focusing on just trying to help my parents I’m noticing that we didn’t really get to share these times as we should have. And it shouldn’t have reached this point. Me and my brother are happy to take the suffering if we know other families won’t have to go through the same thing. We will stand strong. I know me and my brother will succeed, for the name of our parents, for the name of immigrants and Hispanics, and just people in general, at being Americans the true way, unifying each other and working towards a new goal every day and building a team and building a network and going towards that goal in a positive way. I know my brother and I will succeed, even if my parents cannot witness everything they sacrificed for, I know I will make a strong enough noise to let everyone know – I am the son of them, and this is what they represent. Thank you all for coming. This means a lot to me. (Cheers)

BETWEEN THE LINES: That was Erick Ramos, 17 years old, speaking at a vigil for his parents at their home in Meriden, Connecticut, on Sept. 22. Next, his brother Jason, who’s 24, spoke while blocking the federal building on Sept. 25 in Hartford, site of the immigration court, shortly before being arrested with 33 others.

JASON RAMOS: Wrong is wrong. We have to stand up together to this injustice. This injustice is built upon a system that oppresses, discriminates, and throws away human rights, human dignity, human decency. It is a system lacking in scruples. What we have here today is a stand. We are holding a line for the people who could not be here, the people that were torn apart from their families; the people here that are living in fear; the muffled voices, the shackled tensions. We are not creating new tension; this is tension that has already been bubbling; tension that has been in this nation, within all of us. We are here today in solidarity with my family that is going to be torn apart, from me, in less than five days. My freedom, my justice, my liberty has already been compromised. My life has been compromised; my family is my life. I am here today to bring to light and to arouse the consciousness of the community at large. For right now, this attack on our community – not just immigrants – is something we should not stand for. Wrong is wrong. We are 11 million strong. This nation is a nation built by immigrants. We are here to participate; we are here to collaborate; we are here to build. We are not here to terrorize anyone. We are here to build families, to build the American dream, the dream that I still believe in, the dream that I hold near and dear to my heart, the dream that I was raised with, the dream that my parents continue to raise within me, and perhaps my grandchildren someday to come, and I hope they’re here with me to live that life with me.

I’ve been living a nightmare, a living funeral for my parents, who are in danger of being torn apart from me. This (blocking the building) is not something easy, this is not something I take lightly. I still hold the law to its highest regard, even though it may seem that I don’t. My family and I have been abiding by the law, complying with every sort of circumstance and requirement of us. But I think we hold the law to its highest regard when we stand up against injustice, when we stand up against the things that the law doesn’t truly stand for. Right now we are facing an arbitrary system, an oppressive system, a racist system, a system that is being very, very, very wrong at its core.

This administration and the administration beforehand and it goes beyond, have built this broken system. We have to stand up and build something enduring, something everlasting – not just for the people affected by DACA, not just for the ideal citizens, not just for the 11 million immigrants that are here in this country today. We need something lasting, something representative of all of us. I thank you all here today for lending me your strength. I thank you all for lending your voices so we can amplify the injustice that is happening to all of us. I thank you all for being here with me today in solidarity and in spirit and I hope to continue to have your support, not just for me, but for the families that are still living in fear. We need to prepare and educate ourselves because that is our power, our heart, our morals, that is our power. That is what we are; we are the American nation. All of us here together today – we are the face of America. Thank you.

(Cheers)(Chant) Keep Ramos home!

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