A project of the Center for Community Change

Mayors fight Bush in the face of an onslaught of raids

Early this week, while in Sofia, Bulgaria, President Bush announced that he will continue the fight for immigrant rights- he could have said the fight to save his presidency.

Yesterday, while President Bush placed his right foot in the white house to meet with GOP senators to rally his troops to save face- he cut off his left foot while raiding Portland, Oregon. Portland is the third pro-immigrant town this week to be hammered by immigration raids. This string of terror from New Haven, to Ohio to Portland is enraging communities across the country that value families and public safety.

Fortunately the mayors in all of these towns are speaking out! PLEASE call their offices and let them know you support them- they need to hear from you! Here is some of what they are saying:

Mayor Stefano of New Haven:

“On Monday, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. released a six-page document arguing that the June 5 raids — in which about 30 undocumented immigrants were arrested in the city’s Fair Haven neighborhood — were retaliation by the Department of Homeland Security for the city’s planned municipal ID program. But a Department of Homeland Security spokesman denied the charge Tuesday, calling the mayor’s allegations “attempts at making political hay.”

DeStefano said the early-morning arrests were marred by constitutional violations, a “traumatic impact” on young children, racial profiling and a failure to “follow protocol.” The mayor called on Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to suspend any future raids planned for the city.

As of Tuesday afternoon, DeStefano appeared to be making progress in his fight against the federal government: An U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field director told the Associated Press that field operations would be temporarily halted so as to not put officers in harm’s way during a period of anti-ICE sentiment in the city.

But Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Kanocke said ICE was not giving up its efforts in response to DeStefano’s criticisms. ” Read more

Mayor Potter of Portland:

Mayor Potter’s statement on arrests Tuesday (6/12) by immigration & customs enforcement officers

(June 12, 2007)

“I am angered by this morning’s arrest by federal officers of approximately 150 Portland residents who were working at a local produce company.

“I certainly understand why federal officials executed criminal warrants against three individuals who stole and sold Social Security numbers. But to go after local workers who are here to support their families while filling the demands of local businesses for their labor is bad policy. It also serves as a reminder of the failure of our national leaders to deliver an immigration policy that is both fair and humane to families and acknowledges the economic realities of our country.

“Our nation would be better served if this kind of energy was focused on creating a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship; addresses the immigration backlog that keeps families apart; and provides a safe and legal way for workers to enter our country and be productive workers and taxpayers. Immigrants provide more than mere labor in our community.  They have long enriched our history, our culture and our city. My heart goes out to families dealing with the aftermath of this morning.

“In this morning’s raid, no Portland police officers participated, and our Crisis Response Team was activated to help families affected.”

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