Protesters Fight For Immigrant Rights at NATO Summit

As this weekend’s NATO summit approaches, more protesters are starting to appear in downtown Chicago, organizing marches for a number of causes. On May 15, a march for immigration rights was held.

Among the protesters were members of Occupy Chicago, as well as anti-war protesters and immigration advocates. Jose Herrera, an undocumented immigrant and one of the organizers, is fighting to remain in the country. Despite the fact that Herrera has lived in the United States for 20 years and has a son with U.S. citizenship, he is being threatened with deportation.

“[This is] the only thing that I’m able to do right now is because I have a U.S. citizen son – he’s 11 now. I need to show the court that it will cause hardship to my son,” Herrera told Chicago’s CBS 2. “Our immigrant families are being torn apart by the immigration system.”

Two of the protest organizers were arrested after they refused to move from sitting in front of a federal building’s entrance. According to the Chicago Tribune, one of the protests included the Rev. Jose Landaverde, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Church.

Reverend Landaverde has made the news several times in the past for being a tireless immigration reform advocate – in June 2010, he went on a highly-publicized hunger strike in hopes of raising awareness of immigration issues in the United States. Reverend Landaverde, a native of El Salvador who endured torture his home country’s civil war, knows the hardships of immigration all too well.

Two other protesters were arrested after the group was forced to move. Although the amount of police presence continues to rise, protesters say they will not be silenced.

Dan Massoglia, a first-year law student and also one of the protests’ organizers, told Chicago’s CBS 2 the group will continue to fight for immigrant rights.

“There are mass numbers of people being deported for supposedly being illegal, because they do not have documentation,” Massoglia told the news source. “It highlights a disrespect for human life that is indicative of everything that NATO stands for.”