Hundreds of people have called on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to halt the deportation of 21-year-old Jennifer Lopez, a DREAM Act-eligible woman from Palm Beach, Florida who was placed in removal proceedings after a mere routine traffic stop. These supporters joined a campaign that was launched on Change.org by Manuel Guerra, the leader of the South Florida student activist group Students Working for Immigrant Rights who himself successfully won a fight against deportation after nearly 800 people signed a petition on said site. The student activists claim that under the new guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Lopez does not meet the criteria for deportation because she has no criminal background, was brought to the country as a young child, and cares for two critically ill and handicapped siblings, both of whom are U.S. citizens.
The leader from Change.org, who in a move motivated by compassion has spearheaded this civic movement, said: “I still cannot believe that despite the announcement of the new deportation policy by the White House, we still see people like Jennifer Lopez put into deportation proceedings after getting stopped by the police. This shouldn’t be happening anymore. I think she deserves the same chance as I do: a chance for the American Dream. We are not criminals, we are just people who want to live normal lives like anybody else.” The news of the online petition campaign’s success is likely to increase pressure on ICE. Within hours of launching the campaign since Manuel Guerra had gathered more than 200 signatures on Change.org, the world’s fastest growing platform for social change. The activists plan to launch a social media campaign, and at the current rate of growth, the petition is expected to have more than 1,000 supporters by next week. “It’s been inspiring to watch this campaign take off,” said the Director of Organizing for Change.org. “Manuel Guerra benefited when his friends started a campaign for him on Change.org. That campaign was successful in stopping him from deportation, and now he is fighting for Jennifer through the Change.org platform. The fact that the campaign has grown so quickly demonstrates that Jennifer’s story is resonating with others too.” Jennifer Lopez is currently in deportation proceedings and is likely to receive a hearing within three weeks, if the new DHS guidelines are followed as they should be, she should be released from detention and her removal proceedings stopped-we hope she gets what she deserves.