Vigil Calls for End to Deportations

May 18, 2007

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Under a new bipartisan reform proposal, many of the nation's estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants would gain a path to citizenship.

As Congress prepares to debate the deal, some religious leaders on Chicago's West Side are demanding an end to deportations.

Chicago Public Radio's Chip Mitchell reports.

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Within hours of the deal's announcement, about two hundred people began a 24-hour vigil at a shopping center in the Little Village neighborhood.

The mall is where federal agents arrested a dozen people last month as part of a crackdown on identification fraud.

At the vigil this afternoon, Anglican missionary José Landaverde pointed to a Mexican woman near the microphone.

TAPE: “Today we have here a mother who is crying because her husband was arrested yesterday at six o'clock in the morning. And we are praying and demanding to stop the arresting and dividing families in the state of Illinois.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement carried out a record 190,000 deportations nationwide last year.

The pace of deportations has remained almost as brisk this year.

I'm Chip Mitchell, Chicago Public Radio.