The Obama Administration Is Still Deporting Youth: Support Jorge-Alonso Chehade

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It is way past time that I wrote about Jorge-Alonso Chehade.  Jorge-Alonso is the fourth of a group of courageous unauthorized migrant youth who have led campaigns to stop their own deportations. 

First there was Walter Lara, then there was Taha, then there was Herta Llusho.  All of their deportations were extended due in great part to the social media efforts of, SEIU, the broader pro-migrant blogosphere, and the increasing support of the progressive blogosphere.

With only 36 hours left before Jorge-Alonso is forced to leave the United States, he needs all the support he can get, and he is asking everyone to do just one thing, send a fax to DHS on his behalf.

Send a fax to DHS at @
Jorge-Alonso Chehade - The Sanctuary (19 September 2009)
Almost 2,000 supporters have sent faxes to DHS, already, can we make that 5,000?

As is typical of these cases, the mainstream media has been slow to pick up on Jorge-Alonso's case.  If it weren't for Maria Sacchetti of the Boston Globe and Hoa Quach of Global Voices, two of the only journalists who seem to give the migrant youth movement in the U.S. the credit and in-depth reporting it deserves, there would be absolutely no journalistic mention of Jorge-Alonso's case.  The local Seattle Univison station also did an excellent interview with Jorge-Alonso.

Through second hand sources, I have heard that immigration reporters for the New York Times, like Nina Bernstein and Julia Preston, have said these cases aren't news.  Even more embarrassing is the failure of the Seattle Times to cover Jorge-Alonso's story.  Jorge-Alonso is from Washington state and has been able to get two U.S. Senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, to write the Department of Homeland Security on his behalf.  How is that not news?

Fortunately, Jorge-Alonso has been more adept at telling his own story through social media that almost any other unauthorized youth that I know.  For months Jorge-Alonso has been using a facebook group to communicate with, and accumulate supporters for his cause.  His facebook group lists all of his important milestones, letters from supporters, and important ways to keep track of his progress, which I will list below.  Jorge-Alonso has been writing his own posts at the pro-migrant community blog, The Sanctuary.  Jorge-Alonso has also produced six YouTube videos where he tells his story:

Video #1 -
Video #2 -
Video #3 -
Video #4 -
Video #5 -
Video #6 -

This is part of a broader and important trend in social media that I have documented heavily here on Citizen Orange, where the marginalized are beginning to speaking up for themselves using social media.  For centuries migrants have been beat up on as voiceless others.  Migrants were unable to fight back when they were blamed for everyone's problems.  Now, through social media and unauthorized migrant led websites like, the formerly voiceless are speaking up loud and clear, and they're not taking the migrant bashing laying down. 

For those who are to lazy to sift through the above links to hear Jorge-Alonso's story in his own words, I will briefly summarize it here:  Jorge-Alonso was brought to the U.S. from Peru when he was 14 years old.  He graduated from high school with honors, and graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration.  Jorge-Alonso is being deported for no other reason than the fact that he took a wrong turn on a highway which left him with no other choice but to go through Canada.  Immigration and Custom's Enforcement (ICE) picked him up and he was put on the path to deportation. 

If this is the first time you're hearing of a case like Jorge-Alonso's there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, just like him.  The most viable option to relieve the suffering of the estimated 65,000 unauthorized youth that graduate from U.S. high schools every year is the passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.  The DREAM Act would provide conditional legal status to youth like Jorge-Alonso who graduate from U.S. high schools and spend two years in college or the military.  The DREAM Act is easily one of the most widely supported pieces of migration policy legislation before Congress.  It is one of the only pieces of migration policy legislation that has significant Republican support. 

Like everything else migration policy related, however, the DREAM Act is being held back until Congress can pass "comprehensive immigration reform" (CIR), which probably will not be taken up until early 2010, if we're lucky.

In the meantime, the Obama administration, through the Janet Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to deport unauthorized migrant youth.  Promising young people like Jorge-Alonso, who could start up the next Fortune 500 company, or cure cancer, are being deported from the U.S. daily.  It has left migrant advocates like me with no choice but to fight for them one-by-one.  There have been campaigns to save individual unauthorized migrant youth before.  Each are a testament to the organizing that has already happened on the ground for migrants all across the U.S.  What's changed this time around is that social media has connected all of us, and each case is building on the next. 

I've come across several mutterings from pro-migrant commentators about how we're only saving the "good" migrants, or how saving unauthorized migrants one-by-one is inefficient.  My first question to cynics like this is, "How many deportations have you stopped?"  Second, I would point out that by saving unauthorized youth one-by-one, in quick succession, we are quickly building a larger narrative, and posing a larger question to the Obama administration.  Why does Barack Obama continue to deport promising unauthorized youth which he himself has called "children of the United States"?

White supremacist and nativist websites like VDare have already picked up on how dangerous this "new pipeline full of sob stories" is in their war to keep as many brown people out of the United States as possible.  This is not the time to let up.  If you've already gotten this far and you haven't sent a fax in support of Jorge-Alonso, what are you waiting for?

Below is the most current list of accomplishments and supporters of Jorge-Alonso as listed on his facebook group:


US Senator Maria Cantwell

US Senator Patty Murray

Congressman Jim McDermott

State Representative Dave Quall
Chair, Education Committee, WA State Legislature

State Representative Phyllis Gutierrez-Kenney
In-State Tuition, Higher Education and the DREAM Act

Jesus Hernandez,
Chair,Higher Education Coordinating Board

Donald M. Kerwin, Jr.
Member, Council of Foreign Relations' Immigration Task Force

Frank Sharry
Founder & Executive Director, America's Voice

Pramila Jayapal
Founder & Executive Director, One America

Jorge L. Baron
Executive Director, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Dan Kessellbrenner
Executive Director, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild

Ricardo Sanchez
Chairman, Board of Directors, Latino Educational Achievement Project

Dr. Roberto Gonzalez
Author, Young Lives on Hold: The College Dreams of Undocumented Students

Peter Bloch Garcia
President, Latino Community Fund

Leading Advocacy Groups


- [07.18.09] Alonso prepared a Personal Portfolio
- [07.21.09] Alonso met with Senator Maria Cantwell's assistant
- [07.27.09] Alonso met with Senator Patty Murray's assistant
- [07.29.09] Online Petition Reaches 100 Signatures
- [08.03.09] Online Petition Reaches 500 Signatures
- [08.05.09] Alonso created a Newsletter
- [08.10.09] Alonso met with Senator Patty Murray & ONEAMERICA
- [08.11.09] Interviewed @ KUNS-TV Univision Seattle (Channel 51 | Comcast Channel 29)
- [08.12.09] Alonso spoke in an Education Forum @ the University of Washington's Kane Hall
- [08.12.09] Senator Patty Murray sent letter on Alonso's behalf
- [08.14.09] Alonso met with Representative Jay Inslee's assistant
- [08.17.09] Online Petition Reaches 1,000 Signatures
- [08.24.09] Interviewed @ Yakima Herald & Tri-City Herald
- [08.24.09] Alonso spoke in an Education Forum @ the Columbia Basin College
- [08.28.09] Alonso changed his flight ticket to September 24
- [08.31.09] Alonso will be part of a Community Radio Forum @ El Rey 1360 AM
- [09.01.09] Found Pro Bono legal Support | Global Justice Law Group PLLC
- [09.04.09] Online Petition Reaches 1,500 Signatures
- [09.14.09] Interviewed by Pacifica Radio LA | @ 9pm
- [09.15.09] Story posted @
- [09.15.09] Online Petition Reaches 2,000 Signatures
- [09.22.09] Interview by FSRN Radio
- [09.22.09] DREAM Act in "Despierta America" at 5:30am PST | Univision
- [09.23.09] Last Day of "STOP Alonso's Deportation" Campaign
- [09.23.09] 125 Back to School DREAM Act Events in 26 States

- [10.17.09] Invited to speak @ Nationals Lawyers Guild Convention


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The Global Justice Law Group PLLC

Krista Jensen
An Angel that God sent me
Jorge-Alonso Chehade - Facebook (22 September 2009)     

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Prerna Lal said:

Thanks for the run-down Kyle! Jorge taking the initiative he has taken in his case is so f***ing fantastic. He's a total trooper.

Alas, we have a Google document with 19 other kids awaiting deportation.

And thanks for your note to 'pro-migrant mutterings.' :-)

The less I say about Obama, the better.

Hi Kyle -

Thank you so much for your September 25th article on Alonso Chehae's case. I really appreciate the factual information and your segway to the larger, national issue on the DREAM Act.

It is so important to save each of these people one at a time and to work at the same time on the national political scene to get the DREAM Act passed as soon as possible.

Alonso is still here and we all are doing everything we can to keep him here. Everyone's help has been amazing. Just keep it coming.

Thank you.


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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on September 22, 2009 2:54 PM.

Pro-Migrant Blogs - 103 Strong And Counting! was the previous entry in this blog.

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