Rally announced for deported teen Virginia Gutierrez at State Capitol.

A photo of Virginia Gutierrez from her supporters.

Just received the following announcement of a rally at the State Capitol this Wednesday on behalf of recently deported 18-year-old Virginia Gutierrez. The above photo came with it, the first glimpse so far of the former North High School Student who I wrote about in this week's Bird column, in the item, "No, Virginia."

I found out a little more about why Gutierrez was originally stopped by Phoenix PD on August 11. Her friends had told me it was due to a busted tail light, but police spokeswoman Stacie Derge finally was able to determine that an Officer Barilla stopped Gutierrez that Saturday night because she was driving without her headlights on, a common enough traffic violation. Derge says a citation was issued for the headlights thing and for driving with no license. That's when Gutierrez's car was impounded. When Gutierrez tried to get the car out of impound from PHX PD on 8/14, she was arrested for (allegedly) using a fake Mexican i.d. and booked. Later she was reported to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and they convinced her to sign a voluntary deportation order, earning herself a one-way ticket to Nogales.

The story is that Virginia's parents are undocumented, but that she's been here since she was three, and that she was on her way to college this fall. Take one look at her, and tell me what is gained by sending this kid back to Mexico? Sounds like a case of loss all around: hers, her parents, this country's and this state's. This demo is being organized by a number of concerned teachers and community leaders, but the chances of Virginia returning any time soon seem slim at present.

This injustice is being replicated many times, through other bright teens with similar situations being deported, or through undocumented long-time residents of AZ being denied access to in-state tuition. A recent article by the ASU State Press reported that over 600 students had lost access to in-state status (at least temporarily) because of the new Prop 300 requirements. Over 112 of these were found to have been in the country illegally.

The "war" on illegal immigration has become, in part, a war on young adults, many of whom have grown up here, and have been educated in our public schools, only to be turned away from college, and in some cases -- like Virginia's -- deported. God bless America, eh? I don't think so.

Where’s Virginia?

In mid-August, Virginia Gutierrez, an honors graduate from North High School, was arrested, detained and then deported because of her immigration status. While in custody, Virginia was subjected to inhumane treatment, without any legal representation.

Virginia was literally dropped off on a street corner in Nogales, without any concern for her well being.

Virginia was awarded numerous scholarships to attend ASU. She looks forward to making a meaningful contribution to our community.

Join us as we call on our community leaders to both bring Virginia home and hold a community forum on immigration policy. Cases of inhumane treatment such as Virginia’s MUST become a thing of the past.

Wednesday, September 5, 445 pm, State Capitol (17th. Ave/Washington)

For more info, contact:

Reverend Brad Wishon Gentle Shepherd Metropolitan Community Church 2604 North 14th Street (16th Street and Virginia) 623-570-6166 (Cell) / 602-864-6404 (Office) Email: revwishon@aol.com http://www.gsmcc.org/

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