Jaime Guzman, right, was arrested in Alabama this week
  • Jaime Guzman, right, was arrested in Alabama this week
Last week, I interviewed two young, undocumented Portlanders who are on the forefront of a movement among immigrants to come out about their status.

"Being undocumented is not something that's going to prevent us from doing what we want to do," said 25-year-old Jaime Guzman, in the interview. "We have a voice and I'm not going to wait for an ally or someone to speak for me, we have the power."

This week, Guzman was arrested in Alabama, along with 12 other activists while protesting Alabama's controversial and strict new immigration rules. The Alabama 13 refused to leave a legislative office and chanted, "Undocumented, unafraid!"

But getting arrested IS a cause for fear among many undocumented immigrants: Under the nation's new Secure Communities program, an arrest for even a minor offense triggers the attention of the Department of Homeland Security and usually leads to deportation proceedings.

Yesterday, all 13 protesters were released and immigration has yet to file a hold on any of the activists. It looks like the government blinked. Maybe Guzman and his friends are safe coming out, if the government doesn't want to pay the price of terrible publicity for deporting outspoken immigration activists.

The other activist interviewed in that piece, Christian Gonzalez, is already facing deportation after an arrest last year (the charges were dropped). But he's got a sliver of hope to be able to stay with his family here: The Department of Homeland Security has promised to start reviewing deportation cases, prioritizing those of people convicted of serious crimes and halting deportations of immigrants with clean records.