Activist Under House Arrest and Facing Jail for Protesting America’s Detention of Immigrant Children

| Revolution Newspaper |


On February 20, immigrant rights activist Patricia Okoumou climbed the Southwest Key building in Austin, Texas, to protest the U.S. government’s cruel detention of tens of thousands of immigrants under horrendous conditions, including children separated from parents. Southwest Key is the largest operator of immigrant prisons, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts each year. Okoumou, who yelled “Free the children!” as she climbed five stories of the building, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor trespassing.

Patricia Okoumou

This was not the first time Okoumou has carried out a dramatic climbing protest to speak out for immigrants. Last July, in an action that received worldwide attention, she scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty to protest the Trump/Pence regime’s “zero tolerance” anti-immigrant repression and the ripping away of thousands of immigrant children from their parents. She was found guilty of three misdemeanors and now faces a possible 18 months in prison at a March 19 sentencing hearing.

After the Austin protest, a judge in New York City in the Statue of Liberty case revoked Okoumou’s bail and ordered her confined to house arrest with an electronic ankle monitor.

An online petition demanding the dropping of the charges against Patricia Okoumou notes that even more has emerged about the atrocities being carried out against immigrants: “The federal government has ripped apart tender-aged children from nursing mothers. It has flown thousands of young children across the country away from their families and placed them in cages. Some of The Children are being forcibly drugged and others sexually molested in internment camps. There have been deaths of asylum seekers, as young as 7 years old, under the care and custody of border patrol agents and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE).”

The border between the U.S. and Mexico was forged in the mid-1800s through an unjust war in which the U.S. stole over half of Mexico’s land in an attempt to expand slavery. Since then, this border has stood for the Yankee domination and plunder of a whole continent. And now, the American fascist-in-chief has proclaimed a state of emergency to gain the funds to build his monstrous border wall—an escalation in the war on immigrants and a declaration by the Trump/Pence regime that the millions seeking refuge in this country have no rights at all.

Standing up against the wall and the repression of immigrants is righteous and just. The REAL CRIMINALS are those who rule over the system that carries out these, and countless other, horrors against the people around the world.

Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"

Q&A: Bob Avakian's Answer to People Who Complain about Immigrants Crossing Borders

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