Denton activists hold donation drive for families of Paris, Texas ICE raid

Denton activists hold donation drive for families of Paris, Texas ICE raid

Denton activists hold donation drive for families of Paris, Texas ICE raid
September 05
16:52 2018

More than 30 people donated clothing, toiletries and other basic necessities Sunday for the families affected by a recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid. ICE arrested and detained more than 160 alleged undocumented immigrants Aug. 28 at a manufacturing plant near Paris, Texas.

Cities throughout Dallas-Fort Worth have reacted to the bust, flocking to Paris with donations and services for afflicted family members. The Denton response to the raid began with activist and anthropology professor Mariela Nuñes-Janes.

“We’re the third collection site in the metroplex,” Nuñes-Janes said. “What’s happened is that there are several groups that have come together to support the families that were affected by the raid.”

Raices, Movimiento Cosecha, Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, League of United Latin American Citizens, North Texas Dream Team, Light of Hope Immigration Services, United Fort Worth and Justice for Our Neighbors (among the groups that mobilized in response.)

“All of these organizations and groups have come together to support the families in a variety of ways,” Nuñes-Janes said. “One [way] is bail bonds and [to provide] legal services pro bono. [On Saturday] there was a legal clinic outside of Paris with attorneys and volunteers.”

Although immigration is a charged issue in the U.S., Nuñes-Janes said this is not a political mission.

“What we’re doing is just to provide food and clothing,” Nuñes-Janes said. “This happened close to the end of the month. Families are being separated, and the main source of income has been lost, so some families cannot make rent, and so they’re being displaced. We’re collecting hygiene products, mattresses, blankets — just nonperishable items to provide assistance for the families as they wait for their main family member to be released.”

While Nuñes-Janes has played a major role in efforts to provide resources for families, she did not work alone. Community advocate and teacher Lilyan Prado-Carrillo joined forces with Nuñes-Janes more than a decade ago.

Prado-Carrillo said her intent is to let the people in Paris know that they have support and are not alone. Originally from Guatemala, Prado-Carrillo has gone through the immigration process and said this is a personal issue.

“I think that when these things happen, it tends to feel like you’re isolated and you have a spotlight on you,” Prado-Carrillo said. “You’re the one that’s going to jail, and you’re the one who’s afraid that you’re not going to see the rest of your family.”

Prado-Carrillo said she wants to bring awareness of immigration issues to the rest of the community, especially to those who are not versed in the immigration process.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Well it’s their fault, they should have waited their turn in line,’” Prado-Carrillo said. “There is no line. There is no pathways through residency unless you have someone sponsor you. All of these people have very real stories, and I think it’s easy to say ‘those immigrants’ until you have the immigrant right in front of you.”

Despite Paris being two hours away, students have taken action in response to the raid remotely. Donations, social media posts and messages of solidarity were the largest demonstrations of support.

“I am a supporter of Raices,” political science sophomore Yolian Ogbu said. “I donated to them on Facebook and I’ve been sharing posts online.”

Ogbu is the founder and executive director of Grassroots Youth, a youth-based activism organization geared to empower young people in political advocacy. Ogbu said this organization is an important tool to transform communities, especially in the wake of events like the Paris raid.

“I was infuriated when the raid happened,” Ogbu said. “I wanted to go out [to Paris], but as a student, it’s hard to put boots to the ground.”

Prado-Carrillo said she and Nuñes-Janes intend to put on another donation drive for the separated families this coming weekend.

Featured Image: Courtesy Lilyan Prado-Carrillo

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Ally Zarate

Ally Zarate

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