Huffpost Politics

Erika Andiola: Stop Deportations First, Then Fight For Legislation

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Undocumented activist Erika Andiola told HuffPost Live on Wednesday that she left her job as a congressional staffer for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) partially out of frustration at the lack of movement on immigration reform.

"Eventually, of course, we're going to push for something legislatively, but right now the politics are so horrible that we're not able to do that yet," she said. "So at least stop deportations, and then we can fight for something that's going to help us permanently."

There's one deportation in particular she wants to fight: that of her mother, Maria Arreola, who was given temporary prosecutorial discretion earlier this year to stay, but will soon need to fight deportation again.

"Thanks to the community, thanks to all the support from the people that I have worked with for so many years as an activist and an advocate, we were able to actually turn the bus around that was taking her to Mexico," Andiola said. "It was an amazing victory for all of us. ... It's another deportation that we can actually stop with our own hands and our own power, but unfortunately, like many of these cases, it was just a year that she was allowed to stay."

Andiola came to the U.S. from Mexico as a child and is now legally able to work under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. She started her job with Sinema earlier this year, but said working in a congressional office was frustrating. Immigration reform is stalled in the House, and unlikely to get any votes until next year.

"The politics are really bad, they're horrible," Andiola said of Congress. "Right now they're very focused on their election for next year, and the least focus that they have this year is the actual people that are suffering the consequences."

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