Deportations go on despite talk of immigration reform, activists say

Tucson, Arizona, Apr 17 (EFE).- While lawmakers in Washington are preparing to begin debate on possible immigration reform, in Arizona deportations and the separation of families are continuing, activists said here Wednesday.

"Today is an historic day. Finally a plan was presented for immigration reform for which we've waited for so long. However, here, in Arizona, our community reaffirms that it continues to be the target of unfair laws that do not provide relief for our reality," Raul Alcaraz, an organizer with the Southside Worker Center, told Efe.

The center held a press conference in Tucson to denounce the arrests of undocumented immigrants without criminal records.

Alcaraz said that currently 11 members of his group are being detained, largely as a result of the cooperation between the police and the Border Patrol.

In 2010, Arizona approved the controversial state law SB1070, which requires state and local law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of people they suspect to be in the country illegally.

The most recent detentions occurred on April 12 when four day laborers were taken into custody at a Border Patrol checkpoint as they were returning home after their workday.

The four men are currently being detained and are awaiting the clarification of their immigration situation, which will probably take at least several weeks.

"There exist two very different situations. On the one hand, immigration reform is being talked about and, on the other, (there) is the situation our communities are experiencing here in Arizona, where the arrests and deportations are having a greater and greater impact," the SWC's Stepanie Quintana told Efe.