The National Network of Abortion Funds demands the release of Alejandra Pablos, an undocumented abortion storyteller with We Testify, a program of the National Network of Abortion Funds, and immigration activist and organizer with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Arizona. The morning of March 7, 2018, Alejandra faithfully appeared at a check in with ICE in Tucson, where they detained her for what is believed to be ‘retaliation’ for her political activities and protests of our nation’s inhumane immigration and anti-abortion policies. ICE has said that she cannot be released as she is subject to detention without access to a bond.
Alejandra is a fierce and courageous abortion storyteller who speaks passionately about her experiences, as you can see from her video posted after she was detained. “They are trying to tear our movement and our community apart and I’m not going to let that happen.” Alejandra ends the video by explaining, “They are retaliating against all activists and organizers. I need you to fight for me on the outside as I am fighting inside.”
Our oppressive borders already dehumanize and criminalize people, and by trying to control our bodies, our fight for reproductive justice is bound up with immigration justice. ICE’s decision to detain Alejandra is yet another heartless move by the unjust immigration system to target people who speak out.
Yamani Hernandez, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds released the following statement:
“By detaining Alejandra Pablos, without bond the government sending a message that it’s not safe to peacefully protest their brutal, xenophobic immigration policies. Her detention makes us want to fight harder against the ways this administration is attempting to dehumanize and criminalize people for fighting for their human rights. In this moment and every moment immigrant justice is bound with reproductive justice. We send love and support Alejandra and to all undocumented people, of all ages, who have had their rights taken away as this government attempts to exercise control over our bodies.”
In Alejandra’s own words, on a press call commemorating the 45th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade:
“Living in Arizona made it clear to me that families like mine weren’t safe, we weren’t guaranteed security. Every day I saw families being torn apart because of a piece of paper, documents they didn’t have. I saw parents being incarcerated and deported because there is no pathway to citizenship for most people. My views on reproductive justice and parenthood were informed by the sacrifices people made to flee their countries and risk their lives to come here for a better future.When I became pregnant, I knew the current political situation would devastate the family I would create. The same people who would force me to continue my pregnancy are the same people who would rip my baby from my arms and deport me because of my immigration status.”
According to Mijente’s press statement on the case, “Pablos was a legal permanent resident who was placed in deportation proceedings in 2011 after substance-abuse related arrests and spent two years detained at the Eloy Detention Center in southern Arizona. Since her release she has been on probation and checking in with ICE frequently. She is in the process of requesting asylum based on dangers she would face as a political organizer in Mexico.
In early January, as Pablos was leading chants at a peaceful protest in Virginia outside of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), she was abruptly detained by local agents. It appears that after the protest in Virginia, one of the ICE agents called her deportation officer in Tucson, Arizona, and sought to get her detained in retaliation for her protest.
This morning, Pablos showed up to her check-in with ICE in Tucson, she was taken into custody. She will not have a chance to be released or to pay a bond until she sees an immigration judge at an indeterminate time.”
The National Network of Abortion Funds builds power with members to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by centering people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice.
We Testify, a leadership program of the National Network of the Abortion Funds, is dedicated to increasing the spectrum of abortion storytellers in the public sphere and shifting the way the media understands the context and complexity of accessing abortion care. We Testify seeks to build the power and leadership of abortion storytellers, particularly those of color, those from rural and conservative communities, those who are queer identified, those with varying abilities and citizenship statuses, and those who needed support when navigating barriers while accessing abortion care.