ICE Deported My Dad — Why I’m Taking Action to Demand Biden Pass Permanent Protections Now.
By Nestor Ruiz
My name is Nestor and today I spoke out against the deportations by the Biden administration in front of ICE Building in Washington, D.C. because millions of Black and brown people need immediate and permanent protection from deportation.
I’ve risked arrest once under the Obama-Biden administration for the same reason. In fact, I was arrested for blocking the entrance to the Broward County Detention Camp, an unassuming pale pink building where my dad was imprisoned before his deportation.
During the summer of 2014, countless youth just like me risked arrest at the detention centers where our families were held before being deported. By the end of 2014, we successfully pressured Obama to announce an expansion of DACA to include more youth (which we dubbed DACA+), as well as a brand new program called DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens.
Neither DACA+ or DAPA saw the light of day. The fact is, the Obama-Biden administration did not make proactive immigration policy a priority and did not build up political power to deliver and back the necessary changes people of color and working class people demanded.
In the end, Republicans did what they do best: they sued. They killed DACA+ and DAPA. The Obama-Biden administration waited WAY too long to act and our families suffered because of it.
The Biden-Harris administration MUST be swift and MUST drive permanent protections through Congress for ALL undocumented people — not just kids and young people.
I’m taking action today because we inherently deserve dignity. Right now, under the Biden-Harris administration, ICE and CBP have continued to enforce their racist and cruel anti-immigrant agenda by deporting thousands of immigrants, many of them Black immigrants.
My dad was detained in the dark of night in what felt like a home invasion. I remember waking up to sudden movement and noise, then an ICE agent flashing a bright light into my eyes.
I felt whiplash as ICE took my dad away in handcuffs. I remember the hours of stunned silence afterwards, unable to locate my dad or tell anyone except the church — not friends, not employers, not emergency services.
Within a couple days, we learned he was deported. We didn’t even have time to fight back.
Once in Mexico, he called. I didn’t speak to him, and I wouldn’t for years. What do you say to your dad when you have no words to describe your pain, horror, and hopelessness?
What do you say to make everything “better” when there is an agency whose literal existence and sole purpose is to hunt you down, with no way to reunite your family?
Under the Obama-Biden administration 3 million people were deported. Every single person that was deported has a family or a loved one that went through what I experienced that night.
And like my mom, they’re carrying trauma, struggling to make it another day. My mom was forced to take on three jobs at fruit factories to feed and house us. For years her health has been in decline, unable to access therapy or health insurance.
Biden MUST go big and bold. Millions of us are urgently in need of hope and a breakthrough.
My mom dreams of her children being forever safe and of one day returning to the medical field, a budding career she left behind in Mexico. My dad just wants us to honor his sacrifices by loving our family immensely and taking care of each other.
We all dream. We all want to thrive.
I am taking action because I firmly believe that one day, ICE and Border Patrol will be abolished. They have no room in our country.
President Biden: you have the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. Stop all deportations and protect all 11 million undocumented people with a pathway to citizenship now!