Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stop the Raids

We demand that President Bush issue an executive order to end the raids.

Recent History of the Raids

Highlights from the Rally
Today we participated in a protest to end the Immigration Raids. It was a great experience and the 50 of us who were there were louder than a hundred people. The speakers were amazing. Hashim Malik from the Muslim American Society, Reverend Demmer of the Black Ministerial Alliance and Dora Medina of CIRC with Polly Baca from La Rasa as Master of Ceremonies.

While the protest had been planned for some weeks, another raid occurred in Greeley on Monday. The raid was much smaller and targeted, but it was still a raid.

We protested today to end raids that split families and target workers.

Here in Colorado we have experienced many raids and with increasing frequency. Each raid is smaller but seems designed to terrorize the community more.

9/20/2006 Buckley Air Force Base. 195 people are detained in the middle of the day.

12/06/2006 Greeley as part of an ICE action which occurred in six states. Some of the people detained and later deported were US citizens or legal immigrants who could not prove there status on the spot. Unless you carry your birth certificate with you at all times, you do not have acceptable proof of your status either. These raids occurred during the day, albeit early in the morning, at the factories. The employers were not penalized, although they later had to sell the factory in Greeley because they lost so much production because of the raids.

2/22/2007 The next raid occurred in Denver in the middle of the night. It targeted immigrants who worked cleaning restaurants and detained about 16 people. The raids happened at several locations and the names of those being detained were not released. The contractor and the restaurants weren't penalized.

4/17/2007 Then there was a raid in Center, CO at a potato packing plant. This one happened also in the morning. Again the names and locations of those being detained were withheld. Those detained were transported to Denver the next day.

5/24/2007 Pueblo. Raids in the middle of the night at the homes of immigrants. Immigrants report that three or four agents would enter the home and several more would wait outside. Immigrants report that the agents were rude and insulting and that they were not allowed to get dressed before being detained.

6/22-6/24/2007 Dillon. Officials strike in the middle of the day executing warrants at a few locations. They also begin questioning people on the street and detain several people including one from a bus stop and another who was selling ice cream from a cart.

7/10/2007 Greeley... again. Swift plant... again. Two people arrested and this time more quietly.

While the most recent raid appeared to have warrants for the two people arrested, the message is clear. You are not safe on the street, in your home, or at work anytime of day or night.

Even more disturbing is that the major papers in Colorado did not report on the raids in Dillon or Pueblo except to copy and paste the ICE release. The silence around the escalating tactics feeds indifference.

The raids are wrong because they violate human rights, because they do not address any of the underlying issues of immigration,
because they do not change the situation and because their intent is not to resolve the problems of immigration but to intimidate and terrorize people.

For those reasons we demand that President Bush issue an executive order to end the raids.

Dora Medina spoke about the dreams that immigrants bring to this country as well as the poverty and persecution they are escaping. She spoke about the immigrant contributions of hard work and cultural diversity. She challenged those who are anti-immigrant to invest the same energy in the helping the homelessness, the sick, the poor, the elderly and children.

Hashim Malik spoke about the terror tactics of the raids and the hypocrisy of opposing these tactics in other countries while using them at home. He stated that the reason to oppose the raids is not a legalistic one, but a moral one. That all of us have an obligation to serve and defend those who are weakest among us.

The Reverend Demmer spoke about the words that we use in the United States. That we have some of the most beautiful words and expressions for
democracy, hope and peace. He read the words from the Statue of Liberty.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
r huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

He spoke of the War in Iraq and how we claim to set all people free. He asked the government how it can claim to oppose terror abroad and enact it at home. He asked us if these words from the Statue of Liberty are empty symbols or if we still embody them.

We stayed here for two hours. Speaking, circling and chanting.
Two of my favorites

"No Justice, No Peace"

"What do we need ICE for? Lemonade"

No comments: