Chicagoan of the Year Faces Deportation

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsOutside of the Chicago Immigration Court Wednesday morning, a pool of activities held a press conference ahead of immigration hearing in the deportation case of immigrant rights organizer and once named Chicagoan of the Year Lulú Martinez. Family and friends, alongside representatives of Organized Communities Against Deportations, Illinois Coalition for Refugee and Immigrant Rights, and other community organizations rallied around Martinez in anticipation of the court hearing with signs reading, “Keep Lulú Home.”
“Organizing with my community against the institutions and systems that harm us has shown me the power in pushing the limits and taking risks to defend our rights. In a few days I will face an immigration judge who will decide if I should be deported for standing up for my community, I hope that I will not be punished for organizing to keep families together,” said Martinez ahead of her court hearing.

Lulú Martínez arrived to the U.S. at the age of 3 and was raised in Chicago’s Northwest side neighborhood of Portage Park after her parents crossed the Mexican border. Martinez graduated from Walter Payton College Prep in 2008 and enrolled in the University of Illinois at Chicago. Martinez’s activism developed after her close friend Rigo Padilla faced deportation to Mexico in 2009. Martinez alongside a friend spearheaded protests on his behalf, which garnered national attention.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

As a national immigrant rights organizer, Martinez joined the National Immigrant Youth Alliance which organized a “Bring Them Home” campaign to reunite families separated by deportations under the Obama administration. As part of that effort, Martinez and eight other Dream Act eligible youth known as the “Dream 9” were detained at the US-Mexico border and placed in deportation proceedings. As a result of her involvement in the “Dream 9”, Martinez was named “Chicagoan of the Year” by Chicago Magazine in 2013. “Lulú Martinez is yet another immigrant rights activist who has to fight her own deportation. She has a long history of fighting for our community, and we will make sure that our community is here to make sure she is able to stay home,” said Reyna Wences, OCAD Organizer and long-time friend of Martinez.

[Editor’s Note: At the time of deadline, the Chicago Immigration Court’s decision on Lulú Martinez’s case was not made public.]

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