Filipina among undocumented ‘Chicago Six’ facing trial
A Filipina undocumented student was among the six immigration activists known as the “Chicago Six” who went to trial Thursday in Chicago on charges of mob action and obstruction of traffic, according to reports.
Sporting “undocumented and unafraid” on their t-shirts, Carla Navoa, a 22-year-old Filipino undocumented student and activist, and the other defendants Fanny Lopez-Martinez, Jorge Mena, Arianna Salgado, Ireri Unzueta Carrasco, and Miguel Martinez were in court to face charges only to see the judge set a new trial date for March 2.
The six defendants are believed to be the first ever undocumented immigrants to be put on trial for protesting immigration policy, according to the People’s World newspaper.
According to news reports, the six defendants were arrested on August 17 after a hearing on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Secure Communities program their deportation initiative. DHS and ICE, at that time, were holding a series of public hearings across the country about the new program.
According to the Windy City Times, during the Chicago hearing in August, several immigrant groups including the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), Nuestra Voz and the [email protected] Youth Action League (LYAL) were vocal of their opinions on the program and called for attendees to walk out.
“The meetings were useless because the government wasn’t really going to listen to the community, and the way they’ve been enforcing stuff has been really bad,” said Tania Unzueta, an organizer with IYJL, to the Windy City Times.
The six activists — Lopez-Martinez, Mena, Salgado, Unzueta Carrasco, Navoa and Martinez — then took their protest to the street, blocking traffic and an entrance to the I-94 expressway. When police asked them to move, the six refused. The cops proceeded to arrest the activists.
Navoa, a graduate student from the University of Illinois, is originally from Manila, Philippines. She said that she was brought to the US when she was five years old and her family has lived in the Chicago area since.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.