A project of the Center for Community Change

Youth Activists Tell Their Stories

Today, 17 activists, four of whom were minors, visited the offices of Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Eric Cantor, and Speaker John Boehner to demand that they put an end to family separation by bringing immigration reform to a vote in the House.

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Unfortunately, Mr. McCarthy locked out our young activists, refusing to let in even his own constituents. So they were forced to send him their messages by way of the mail slot.

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Those visiting Rep. Cantor’s office were let in, but Mr. Cantor was out of the office so activists spoke with his staff. Young leaders told their family stories of separation and asked staff to pass on the importance of passing immigration reform to the congressman.

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All of the activists then converged on the office of Speaker John Boehner. His office was locked as well, and the activists sat down in the hallway outside the Speaker’s door, holding hands and chanting until Capitol Police handcuffed them and took them away one by one.

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The youngest arrestee was 12-year-old Esteban, who is here today with his mother fighting for his undocumented stepfather. Esteban and his four younger siblings have experienced the pain of deportation first-hand. About a year ago, Esteban’s father was deported, and Esteban says he does not want other kids to have to go through the same pain he went through.

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Below, Esteban and some of the other young activists from today’s action tell their stories and talk about why they are here today.

Esteban, age 12:

Ashley, age 18

Hector, age 15

Brian, age 22

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