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DHS Grants Prosecutorial Discretion to Immigrant Organizer Targeted by ICE

La Resistencia is a grassroots volunteer undocumented-led group fighting alongside people detained at NWDC to end all detentions, all deportations, and to shut down NWDC.  |  Issue: October 2021

La Resistencia leaders celebrate victory against ICE in public action and demand Prosecutorial Discretion be granted to all people detained and not detained

Maru Mora Villalpando
Maru Mora Villalpando

Seattle, WA — After four years of being targeted by Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) for her work to dismantle the enforcement agency, immigrant rights defender and organizer Maru Mora Villalpando has been granted prosecutorial discretion. 

Mora Villalpando was one of hundreds of immigration organizers singled out by ICE during the Trump administration — targeted for her political action. One high-ranking ICE officer described her as an “instigator” in an internal email. Another responded that Mora Villalpando was a “well-known local illegal alien,” and suggested that deporting her might “take away some of her ‘clout.’” A few weeks after those emails, ICE placed Mora Villalpando, who was born in Mexico, in deportation proceedings.

The organization Mora Villalpando helped found, La Resistencia, fought back against the Trump administrative punitive, inhumane immigration, deportation, and detention policies — including retaliation against organizers both inside and outside of ICE’s hold — leading to delayed hearings for Mora Villalpando, leaving her fight against deportation and for U.S. residency hanging in the balance.  

Since 2014, La Resistencia’s work has focused on shutting down the Northwest Detention Center (also known as NW ICE Processing Center) since 2014. Their work led to the successful passing this year of HB1090, an act that prohibits private for profit prisons and detention centers for adults in Washington State. 

La Resistencia, along with supporters and community members held a press conference to discuss government retaliation against organizers, demand that ICE grant prosecutorial discretion to all people in deportations proceedings, and review Mora Villalpando’s experiences with her deportation proceedings hearings at the ICE Seattle offices on September 23rd. Speakers will include leaders of La Resistencia, State Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self, State Senator Rebecca Saldaña, Alejandra Gonza Director of Grassroots Advocacy, and others.

In the midst of ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in detention centers, La Resistencia will also join a national call to action to demand that the Biden administration protect people in their custody who are living in deadly conditions. At NWDC alone, nearly 270 people detained have been infected by the virus since June. 

As people across the country continue to unite for affirmative relief and a clear pathway to citizenship, the Communities Not Cages National Day of Action calls for urgent action to demand an end to deportation, the closure of all detention centers, and the release of all people in immigration detention. 

El Tribuno del Pueblo brings you articles written by individuals or organizations, along with our own reporting. Bylined articles reflect the views of the authors. Unsigned articles reflect the views of the editorial board. Please credit the source when sharing.

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