The Dream 9 — the nine undocumented immigrants who crossed the Mexico/U.S border seeking asylum as an act of civil disobedience and were detained in Arizona as a result — are being released Wednesday after much online and offline activism.
The Twitter handle @DreamAct reports they will be released back into their American communities, though their future in this country is still unclear.
In July, the nine activists entered the U.S. at the border station of Nogales, Arizona without immigration papers to protest the historic amount of deportations under the Obama Administration. They were immediately detained at the Eloy Detention Center in central Arizona, which is privately owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America.
Shockingly, eight out of the nine activists were put in solitary confinement, and two of them were in confinement for more than a week. One was put on suicide watch.
Aura Bogado, News Editor at Colorlines.com, expressed her disappointment with the lack of racial analysis by most media outlets during NPR's Latino USA live panel earlier today.
"The story of what happens to these bodies, largely these brown and black bodies in detention, there's sort of an entirely racial element to the way the immigrant detention industrial complex works...and that got covered up I think by every outlet of the left, right and center," Bogado said. "These private prison corporations are literally invested in keeping those 32,000 beds filled every single night."
Spanish language outlets, such as Univision, are presenting the more nuanced version of the protest while mainstream English language media has failed to miss the importance of this activist act. (Today, the L.A Times called the immigrants "Mexican Nationals" which dismisses their complicated existence as undocumented U.S. residents.)
Another speaker on the NPR panel, Immigration lawyer Mathew Kolken, says that in reality their act of civil disobedience was equivalent to "Rosa Parks sitting in the front of the bus."
Every action of the Dream 9 has been completely legal (the activists are undocumented, but seeking asylum in itself is legal) yet they were detained and placed in solitary confinement in a private detention center.
Their actions are monumental. Not only is their detention and release reigniting the immigration debate, but the Dream 9 are also finally proving what we knew all along: our immigration system is broken.
"There comes a point where you cant just sit and wait for the law to change," said Kolken during the panel.
That point has come and regardless of what happens, we can't ignore this issue anymore.
Watch the panel here: