Today in Washington DC two farm workers and UFW Vice President Giev Kashkooli were arrested along with 200 other local and national leaders, immigrants, civil rights, labor, and faith leaders. They engaged in civil disobedience to demand that the House Republican leadership pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. This was part of a national event with tens of thousands of people from across the country who gathered in the nation’s capitol. The event, “Camino Americano: March for Dignity and Respect,” featured performances by Los Tigres del Norte and Lila Downs, as well as speeches from Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other elected officials as well as labor and advocacy leaders.
Francisco Torres, an orange worker from Portersville, was one of the farm workers arrested. He is a US citizen who has been working the fields for more than 30 years. Francisco lives in Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s district and firmly believes the GOP Whip has the power to fix the broken immigration system by allowing a vote on a pathway to citizenship. Francisco traveled to Washington D.C. to support all the families who are undocumented. He understands the importance of legalization and believes that new immigrants deserve that opportunity so they, too, can have rights that he and other citizens enjoy. Francisco said he doesn’t want to see people being taken advantage of because they are undocumented. . Living undocumented makes them prey for others. He doesn’t want to see any more injustices against these families, many who feel helpless without papers. That's why he got arrested.
Francisco is not the only farm worker making the trip to D.C. Fabio Calderon, an Oxnard mushroom worker is a U.S. legal resident who hopes to become a citizen soon. He traveled to Washington, D.C. because he wants to see immigration reform successfully pass this year. Calderon was arrested so that 11 million new immigrants can one day fulfill their dream of becoming US citizens. When he first came to the United States, he was undocumented and understands the hardships faced by undocumented farm workers.
This latest mobilization to pressure Congress for a vote on a just and humane comprehensive immigration reform represents one of the many actions taking place over the past several months. Today's escalation in tactics is part of the already growing movement across the country to pressure Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), to allow a vote this year.
Today Francisco, Fabio, and hundreds of others put their freedom on the line . Won't you stand with them. Si Se Puede!