20.01.2022

How to Join the Black Lives Matter Protests Safely If You’re Undocumented

Always carry water and spare cash, and do not bring any personal documents that might indicate your immigrant status because it can put you at risk, but also because they can be stolen, stained, or burned.

In case you encounter tear gas, make sure you bring saline without alcohol or milk of magnesia without flavor.

Find organizations in your area that provide lawyer services for anyone getting arrested in the protests and write their phone numbers on your arm just in case. If you’re protesting in NYC, you can call Good Call at 1-833-346-6322, or the National Lawyers Guild at 212-679-6018.

As protests continue in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, many Latinx who want to join have not done so because they fear of being arrested and deported. But for those who do choose to protest while undocumented, there are specific ways to mitigate the risks. Being arrested in a protest doesn’t mean your DACA status will be immediately revoked, as undocumented immigrant rights activist Sara Mora pointed out on her Instagram account. “Regardless of immigration status, we are all at risk when we fight back against oppression,” she wrote.

Still, Sara is adamant that undocumented people should choose to do what feels safest for them. “I think the fast solution is everyone to be out there protesting,” she told. “But the more complex solution is we need everyone hands on. Either donating, or fundraising.” Because while protesting is one powerful tool to make our voices heard, it’s just one way to be active in the fight for racial justice. If you do want to join the protests and are undocumented, there are certain steps you can take to do it more safely.

If you can, leave your phone at home. If not, switch it to airplane mode, turn off face ID, and add a strong password. Police need a warrant to unlock your phone. Be careful while taking and posting photos on social media. Try to blur people’s faces so they don’t get identified.

Wear nondescript, solid-color clothes, covering any identifying traits such as tattoos, piercings, or hair color. If you have long hair, tie your hair up, preferably in a bun. Avoid wearing any jewelry and bringing items you wouldn’t want to be arrested with.

If you or anyone you know gets arrested in NYC and are facing deportation, you may ask for a lawyer by calling the state’s Office for New Americans hotline at 1-800-566-7636.

Ultimately, for more information and tips on what to do, writer Alán Pelaez Lopez and activist Valeria from @bitterillegal got together to shed more light on how to protest safely while undocumented during a very eye-opening Instagram Live that you can check out below.

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