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Activist held in US after reciting poem attacking immigration rules

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American Civil Liberties Union files court petition arguing that the detention of Jose Bello violates the first amendment

A student activist who was arrested in California 36 hours after reading a poem critical of immigration policy is being supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is arguing that his arrest violates the first amendment.

Jose Bello read the poem, Dear America, at a public forum held by the Kern County board of supervisors in May. Written after his detention by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency in 2018, the poem reads: “We demand our respect. We want our dignity back. / Our roots run deep in this country, now that’s a true fact … We don’t want your jobs. We don’t want your money. / We’re here to work hard, pay taxes, and study.”

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