BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Dozens of people stood outside a downtown church to protest the arrest of the 25 undocumented workers in last month’s restaurant raid of 4 Mexican restaurants.Five members of the Buffalo 25 were joined by immigrant rights activists here in Buffalo. Their march is called the “journey to dignity.”
Their plan is to cross state lines through Pennsylvania and Ohio to call for an immediate end to their deportations. One of these undocumented workers tells us she’s risking everything in hopes of reuniting her family and stopping this from happening to other people around the country,
Aida Ramirez told us she is scared. “My daughters keep asking for their father. And they keep asking where he is and they want to be with him.”
Both she and her husband are a part of the “Buffalo 25” who were arrested on the job for being undocumented and working at one of four Buffalo Mexican restaurants.
Her husband is still detained. She said, “I never thought this would ever happen. It’s a complete surprise to me. We know we are immigrants, but it was a complete surprise. We didn’t think this would ever happen to us.”
Now she’s required to wear an ankle monitor. She can’t work and depends on community support to make ends meet including food and rent. Leaders from Cosecha now help her provide for her family.
Fhatima Paulino with Cosecha said., “Generally for undocumented people, coming out publicly is a risk in itself. That’s because you’re public and you’re more likely to get deported.”
Activists stand behind workers like Ramirez, fighting for what they call, “unfair detention and deportation.”
At a march outside of the Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Buffalo, one activist said, “When somebody comes from someplace far away we’re not to treat them as foreigners and strangers but as neighbors.”
The groups’ goal is to stop all of the Buffalo 25 from being deported. Ramirez says whats happened to her is just one example of whats happening across the country.
She said, “My hope would be that I would be able to work, so that I can provide for my children and that my two daughters would have a better life.”
The group is passing by the Batavia Detention Center where some of the “Buffalo 25” are currently in jail. Wednesday the group heads to Pittsburgh to meet up with other people who are currently fighting deportation cases.
It’s now up to federal courts whether Ramirez can stay in Buffalo. Her next court appearance is in December.