Alejandra Pablos is a social justice organizer, activist, and writer working at the intersection of immigration and reproductive justice. She has been targeted by ICE for deportation and is fighting for her freedom.
Born south of the Mexico border, Alejandra and her brother Jesus were raised in Santa Ana, California by their mother Rossy. Her mother’s business ambitions later moved the family to Tucson, Arizona, where Alejandra first learned what it means to be a person of color in the United States.
At age 16, Alejandra became a community organizer. Her first job was working at her local city after-school program. This introduced Alejandra to working with young people, and she continued playing a role in the lives of pre-school and school aged children for the next six years. In 2009, Alejandra graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. During her youth, Alejandra was arrested and convicted of several charges, including Driving Under the Influence and possession of drug paraphernalia, some of which were felonies under Arizona state law. The arrests combined with an immigration system that targets people with a criminal record, particularly felonies, led to Alejandra’s detention by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at a routine probation visit. As Alejandra realized, there was nothing “permanent” about her residency status. She spent 2 years at the Eloy Detention Center in Southern Arizona, one of the worst detention centers in the country. She lost her residency and was placed in deportation proceedings even though her parents were naturalized citizens.
After a long legal battle, Alejandra was released from detention. Since then, she has worked to advocate for human and civil rights, dedicating her life to organizing for immigrant rights and reproductive justice. She has also become an active member of Mijente, a digital and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx movement building and is a storyteller with We Testify, a project of the Nation Network of Abortion Funds, where she shares her abortion story as a form of resistance and liberation nationwide. Alejandra is a strong advocate for immigration reform and ending mass incarceration, and has worked with many immigrant rights and criminal justice organizers throughout the country. She also worked as the Virginia Field Coordinator for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, where she organized to raise the voices of Latinas and for policy change at all levels of government on issues that impact their lives.
In 2018, as part of her local organizing, Alejandra led demonstrators at a peaceful protest in Virginia outside of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where she was later singled out and detained by DHS agents. Her detention garnished national attention and sparked a viral movement demanding her freedom. As a result, she became nationally recognized as an immigrant rights and reproductive rights activist. Her detention lasted 43 days. Along with Mijente, NLIRH, and the support of organizers across the country, she was granted an immigration bond and released from Eloy Detention Center. Alejandra is currently organizing her own deportation defense campaign called #KeepAleFree in order to stay permanently with her community. You can read more about her and her work on DemocracyNow, ReWire, Latino USA, TeenVogue, Slate, Huffington Post, amongst others.