“Resistance Maricopa: Reyna Montoya” is one of a five-part series from Colorlines featuring activists in Maricopa County, Arizona, who are fighting to protect communities and families from detention and deportation amidst a political climate that’s growing increasingly hostile toward immigrants. 

Reyna Montoya is a community organizer, an educator and a dancer who founded Aliento, an undocumented and DREAMer-led organization committed to healing and organizing in undocumented and immigrant communities. In her interview, she talks about the impact of deportation and detention on families and children, and how she and others risked arrest to prevent a bus full of undocumented immigrants from being deported.

For years, under the leadership of longtime sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County was a national symbol of harsh and racist immigration enforcement. During his 24-year tenure, Airpaio detained undocumented people in a dangerous tent city, routinely separated minors from their parents, racially profiled Latinx Phoenix residents and was ultimately charged with criminal contempt for ignoring a federal judge’s order to stop the racist profiling. Arpaio was ousted last November due in part to a national campaign called Bazta Arpaio and a PAC specifically dedicated to unseating him.

To learn more about the impact mass deportation can have on families and children, read “Shattered Families“ a report by Colorlines’ publisher, Race Forward, and check out Colorlines coverage of this and other immigration enforcement issues.