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Flagstaff Group to Protest Immigrant Deportation Milestone

A Flagstaff group will protest what they say is the 2 millionth immigrant deportation under the Obama Administration. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the rally is part of a nationwide day of action.

Tomorrow, protests are planned by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network across the country in more than 40 cities, including Flagstaff.

Robert Neustadt is a member of the immigration reform group the Flagstaff Freedom Movement. He says under the Obama Administration, about 1,000 people per day are deported from the United States. It’s a figure higher than at any other time in American history — something Neustadt says is unjust.

“Basically, we are human beings that are trying to rise up and stand in the defense of other human beings and defend the dignity of human beings documented or undocumented,” Neustadt says.

Neustadt says deportation often separates families. And, it’s an issue not just limited to southern and central parts of Arizona.

“People call me all the time to tell me about these kinds of things. People are getting deported from Flagstaff. It’s a very, very sad situation … What we’re calling for is compassionate immigration reform, not more border militarization,” he says.

Proponents of tighter regulations on Arizona’s border with Mexico claim it’s necessary for the country’s security. Despite multiple attempts in recent years, the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration have been unable to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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