FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Marco Saavedra, NIYA’s Second Implanted Activist, has been Detained in Broward Since July 11

August 1st, 2012

Marco Saavedra, NIYA’s Second Implanted Activist, has been Detained in Broward Since July 11

Hundreds of stories gathered and hunger strikes under way; infiltrations to continue 

MIAMI—Today, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance reveals the name of another activist, Marco Saavedra, 22, detained since July 11. Saavedra, a graduate of Kenyon College in Ohio, allowed himself to be detained by approaching Border Patrol and inquiring about a friend who had recently been detained. Saavedra, along with Claudio Rojas and Omar Ramirez, activists among the detained men, have begun a hunger strike. Tomorrow, August 2, we will hold a press conference outside of the Miami ICE field offices announcing updates and plans moving forward.

*We will release an audio recording of Marco being detained, refuting ICE’s claim that they screen youth who are potentially eligible for deferred action*

WHEN: August 2, 1100AM EST

WHERE: Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) Miami field office, 2805 SW 145th Ave., Miramar FL, 33027

WHO: National Immigrant Youth Alliance, undocumented youth and families with loved ones inside Broward

Despite clearly being eligible for President Obama’s recent memorandum on special treatment for DREAM Act eligible youth, Saavedra was detained by the officer and, as planned, sent to the Broward facility. Saavedra’s age ( DOB: Jan. 10, 1990) is posted on the ICE detainee locator site, indicating that they are clearly aware of his potential eligibility for deferred action.

On Monday, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance released the name of a female activist, Viridiana Martinez, who has been detained at Broward and is organizing on the women’s side of the center. Martinez turned herself in at the Port of Everglades in an effort to infiltrate the detention center and has been detained since July 20.

In accordance with the June 17, 2011, memorandum issued by the Obama Administration, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance is now demanding a full and complete review of all detainees at the Broward detention center.

Organizers inside have found over 100 instances of individuals being detained despite clearly meeting the low-priority threshold. We have verified this information with family members and attorneys outside. Inside, there are:

  • several people who have pending application for a U Visa (given to victims of serious crimes);
  • More than a dozen DREAM Act eligible youth;
  • Over 60 individuals with no criminal record or prior deportations, some detained as passengers in vehicles;
  • More than three dozen cases in which individuals are still eligible for discretion despite previous contacts with the system;
  • Several cases of immigrants in need of immediate medical care, including one individual with a blood clot in his leg (see Junior Hariott at;

In over half of the cases, identified detainees have been held for a period longer than four months. These are individuals who would be eligible for administrative closure as outlined by the Obama Administration. By its own admission, immigration authorities see Broward as a low-priority facility: “BTC is a minimum security civil detention facility that generally houses mandatory detention and low level criminal cases.”  Not one of the detainees NIYA has identified meet the criteria for mandatory detention; in fact, other similar detainees held at nearby, high-security facility, Krome, are regularly released on bond and/or administrative closure.

Marco Saavedra, like Viridiana Martinez, is DREAM Act eligible. Both undocumented youth identified themselves as having entered the country at the age of fifteen, meaning ICE put aside the new deferred action policy to detain them. Undocumented youth who make contact with the system are no more safe than they were prior to the policy.

NIYA will no longer allow GEO Group or other private prison corporations to profit off of shattered families and broken lives. We will continue to organize inside their jails until the president lives up to his promises. Case summaries along with the national petition can be found online at


The National Immigrant Youth Alliance is an undocumented led network of 27 organizations in 24 states. As NIYA we believe the only way to safeguard our communities is to empower, educate and most importantly, escalate.

Posted on by Prerna in Uncategorized

  • Susan Carter

    Your friends from Ohio send our prayers for your safety and for strength. 

    • Sean

      I echo that prayer. Stay strong Marco. We really need you to be. 

  • AndrewReinert

    Marco is simply one of the finest young men I know. His detention is a travesty; who needs to be protected from this wise, kind, honest man?

  • Ayesha Akhtar

    Marco!! Hang in there!

  • Laura Yakas

    He is a wonderful young man and I send my support

  • Bai

    Marco is one of the nicest and finest young men that I know! I send my strongest support!!