The Occupy movement and groups believe Latinos and other immigrants are crucial to the cause, but they realize the growing number of arrests and police confrontations could alienate undocumented immigrants. To address the issue, classes led by legal experts and lawyers in New York will concentrate on police procedure and immigration rights.
“Once they know the issues and are aware of the risks, it is up to the people to make up their mind,” said Mariano Muñoz, member of the Spanish assembly for OWS in NY. “Sometimes, the issues and the cause are more important than deportation.”
The immigration status of protesters became an issue this week when an undocumented former astrophysics PhD student, Francisco “Pancho” Ramos-Stierle, a 36-year old Mexican native from California was arrested at an Occupy Oakland protest while meditating. The charges against Ramos-Stierle were dropped, but he was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents after his fingerprints showed up in a federal database.
Ramos-Stierle was released but he still faces the threat of deportation.
“His intention was just to meditate. And he felt whatever needed to happen would happen,” said his friend Melissa Dickman, who organized a petition to free Ramos. “He was aware of the risks. But he refuses to live in fear, and he won’t let that fear control his life or prevent him from becoming involved in causes he believes in.”[Photo By Oakland Local]