Each month DABC members join with others from the community in a vigil outside the Aurora ICE Detention Center. This month’s vigil took place after several murders committed by the Border Patrol in recent months, including that of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca. Authorities originally claimed that the agent shot and killed Sergio only after being “assaulted” by rocks, but video evidence later surfaced that Sergio was not throwing rocks and actually ran away. (Sidenote: there are some kids throwing rocks in the video and the people looking on are heard to say “How stupid! They’re throwing rocks.” Even if they were throwing rocks, shooting someone in the head is a disproportionate response). Earlier in the month several Border Patrol agents beat and tasered a handcuffed Anastacio Hernandez Rojas to death in what the San Diego coroner ruled a homicide. Mr. Rojas was picked up by Border Patrol agents as he was trying to re-enter the US and rejoin his wife and 5 children.
Sergio’s death is just one of the 17 people who have died at the hands of the Border Patrol in the past few 6 months, twice as many people as in the last 2 years combined. This is a direct result of the increased repression waged upon migrants since Obama has taken office. In his first year as president, 387,790 immigrants were deported, an increase of more than 60% from Bush’s last year in office.
So, this vigil was an especially powerful one. We gathered in a circle for an opening prayer by United Methodist Pastor Peg Newell and then heard from El Frente de Lucha member Alonzo Barron who described the horrifying events that lead to Sergio’s murder. K followed with a passionate speech on ending detention and standing together to seek out justice.
Coffins were placed in the center of the circle representing those who have died on the border. People then placed flowers on the caskets. For each flower they received a piece of paper with a person’s name and cause of death. The white paper represented the 111 deaths in immigrant detention from 2003 to May 2010. The colored pieces of paper represented the 153 deaths on the Arizona-Mexico border alone from October 2009 to the present.
After remembering those killed on the border, we walked up to the detention center itself for a loud and festive denunciation of the detention system. We chanted, we shouted and we even sang the classic Ranchera song Cielito Lindo!
These monthly vigils are an imporant part of the broader resistance that needs to be taken to the detention system. It provides a visible opposition to the center which is seen by the general public, detention center officials and the detained themselves. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people who share the same vision of a world where no one is illegal. People are always coming in from Denver, so if you need a ride you can always email us email@example.com or contact Jennifer Piper of the American Friends Service Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.