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Children To Obama: Stop The Raids

 Impulso, News Report, Alicia Estrada

LOS ANGELES - She is only seven years old, but Belen Barahona says she already understands the importance of fighting in support of immigrants. Her parents are undocumented immigrants who came to Los Angeles from the state of Oaxaca in Mexico — reason enough for Barahona to hold on tightly held to a wooden cross carrying the message "We all are Arizona" during a July 28 protest where demonstrators called on President Barack Obama to order a stop to raids by federal officials seeking undocumented immigrants.

Belen and some 100 other children of undocumented immigrants joined their parents and immigrant rights leaders in front the federal building in Downtown Los Angeles with the intention of showing that children also have a voice. 

"Obama, I'm a child," said Belen. "I'm not 18 years old or more to vote for you [but] I have a voice and I want to ask you not to separate parents from their children anymore. I don't want to be separated from my parents because I need both of them to grow safely."

Belen and her brother, 10-year-old Uriel, are both considered "gifted students" in the Compton Unified School District. And both said that they believe it would be good if government administrators would make laws that help undocumented parents stay with their children in the U.S.

"We're fighting because we don't want our parents taken away from my little sister and I," said Uriel. "That's not good because I think children could starve to death and die of sadness because there would be no one to feed them and we wouldn't like it if they took away my parents. That's why I ask the president to stop that separating of parents from their children, and to make a new law that doesn't separate us from our mothers and fathers."

The demonstrators shouted a more basic message during the protest: "Obama, listen, the children are in the battle."

12-year-old Daniela Rocha, took a break from the marching to talk about the fear that she feels with because of immigration raids. 

"I see the news and there are many raids, and I'm scared that the same thing will happen to me like what happened to my friend, who was left without her parents because they were taken away from her in a raid," Rocha said. "I'm afraid of that — that's why I'm here, to ask the authorities to stop doing that, please."

The demonstration came as part of the National Children's March, with similar events in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., and at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

The demonstrators in Los Angeles also called for a halt to the Arizona law known as SB 1070, which allows law-enforcement officials to ask anyone for proof of citizenship or legal residency and detain anyone who cannot provide documentation. The demonstrators took a measure of hope from the ruling by federal judge Susan R. Bolton, who put some of the provisions of the Arizona law on hold while legal challenges continue. 



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