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United Farm Workers of America President Arturo S. Rodriguez was arrested a little after 1:30 p.m. EST along with UFW members Reynaldo Arvelo, Favio Calderon and Miguel Moran, in front of Speaker of the House John Boehner’s (R-OH) office in Washington D.C.

Rodriguez, Calderon, Moran and Arvelo were participating in a civil disobedience action in the nation's capital to bring forth the family-separation crisis currently taking place in the nation due to a broken immigration system. The high rate of deportation has caused a heart-tugging burden to a generation of parents and children. Currently, the Obama administration has led to countless unnecessary deportations and  family separations while Republicans shamelessly fail to do their jobs and schedule an immigration vote.

“In light of last night’s primary results, some have been lead to conclude that immigration reform is dead. Well, we’re here today to remind folks that the weight of historic immigration reform rests on Speaker Boehner’s shoulders. It’s up to him to schedule a vote. Either he shows leadership and reaps the benefits—like Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC); or he continues bending to the extremists and walks the path to defeat—like Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) did last night.  

“Our movement is prepared to deliver a legislative victory. Either we work with this current Congress to pass reform or we work to elect a Congress that will.

“That future of reform and the future of the Republican Party rests on the Speaker right now.”

With supporters, families and leaders – including UFW President Arturo S. Rodríguez and volunteers from Virginia Organizing – the families engaged in an enhanced act of protest against family separation, part of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement’s (FIRM) phase of escalation, STOP SEPARATING FAMILIES. The act of civil disobedience is an outcry against a broken immigration system that works every day to separate their families.  

Miguel Moran, 61 year old from Oxnard, CA has been working in the fields for about 38 years. He’s a mushroom harvester.

Today my priority was to make the Members of Congress understand that there is a great necessity in the Hispanic community for immigration reform. There is great sadness in the children who are separated from their parents due from the deportations. I hope this action calls the attention to all those who have power to unify and not destroy families.

I have a lot of family friends whose children have been left without a mother or father because of the broken immigration system, this is a serious problem.

We need to end the suffering of the children.

Favio Calderon, 56-year old from Oxnard CA has been working in the fields for about 35 years. Today, he risked arrest in DC because, “I have seen people go to work and seen when police officers take their cars away because they don’t have a driver's license, returning home to their children unable to take care of basic things like taking them to the doctor or school. I wish our Congress can accomplish an immigration reform for the 11 million here in this country.

We need immigration reform now because it's time. I got arrested for the people who do not have proper documentation, they need citizenship so that they are able to work and live properly in this country.

I’m here to represent farmworkers and we need the Congressmen to hear our voices. It is also important to pass immigration reform so that people no longer live in the shadows and can have a voice in our country."

Reynaldo Arevalo is 62 years old and has been working under a UFW contract for 22 years. He chose to risk arrest today because, "I watch television and on the news I see how many people are deported and how children are left without their parents or homes. The children continue to suffer because of the deportations. It makes me sad and a little angry. I want to achieve immigration reform for all those individuals that are stuck in the system, that don't have a voice or right to vote and live in constant fear day after day because of the threat of deportation. There needs to be an immigration reform to keep families together in the country.

I think that the problem of all families is that they have been destroyed by our immigration system. There is much tranquility in homes and kids are highly motivated to succeed and study in this country. I believe that with time these kids will become great citizens and great individuals for this country. That is why I am giving my time to make the Congressman see they should listen to us and understand the damage they are doing to all these children and to give us an immigration reform."

Originally posted to ufw on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 01:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by Hellraisers Journal, In Support of Labor and Unions, and LatinoKos.

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