Democracy Now! speaks with Sousa-Rodriguez, who, in June 2010, was invited by President Obama to the White House to discuss immigration policy and prospects for immigration reform and refused to shake the president’s hand.
The Obama administration has begun conducting raids and detaining families as part of an effort to deport Central Americans who have fled violence in their home countries. At least 121 people have been detained so far. At one home in Georgia, Ana Lizet Mejia, a Honduran woman who fled the country after her brother was murdered by gangs, was taken into custody along with her 9-year-old son after an early-morning raid. “In the same way that we fled a country where people were disappearing in the middle of the night and being taken by members of the government, by armed individuals, the same things are happening today in this country, and it is terrifying,” said Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, a Ph.D. student at the CUNY Graduate Center and former youth organizer with the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “And it is the reason why we stand up and fight, because we refuse to be dehumanized any longer.”