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OWS Offers Immigration Training for Illegals That Become Participants


The Occupy Wall Street movement has made it its mission to include immigrants into their growing social movement.  But there is one segment of this population they have reluctantly, almost nervously, brought into the fold: the undocumented.
As images of mass arrests at Occupy Wall Street demonstrations across the country have dominated TV news, an unspoken question has been whether undocumented immigrants who rally should put themselves at risk of arrest, and possible deportation.

Once they know the issues and are aware of the risks, it is up to the people to make up their mind. Sometimes, the issues and the cause are more important than deportation.
- Mariano Muñoz

The issue was put on the front burner this week when Francisco “Pancho” Ramos-Stierle, a former astrophysics doctoral student in California who happened to be undocumented, was arrested while meditating during a raid at an Occupy Oakland encampment. His charges were dropped but he was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after his fingerprints showed up in federal database.
Ramos was released Thursday, though he could still be called for deportation proceedings at any time.
The Occupy movement has pointed to his case as a symbol of a broken federal system and they say his plight shows that social changes – from the financial system to immigration – needs to happen. And, they say, it shows the two go hand in hand.
“His intention was just to meditate. And he felt whatever needed to happen would happen,” said his friend Melissa Dickman, who organized a petition to free Ramos. “He was aware of the risks. But he refuses to live in fear, and he won’t let that fear control his life or prevent him from becoming involved in causes he believes in.”

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