A project of the Center for Community Change

ICE Raid

Immigrants’ rights violated in Connecticut Raid

ICE raid

I’ve written a lot about raids in the past year – from Postville to Laurel, we’ve seen how the enforcement-only approach of the Bush era has torn apart communities and violated basic civil and human rights.

Last week, in a rare moment of justice, an immigration court Judge ruled that immigrants’ rights were violated during the raid on New Haven, Connecticut in 2007. From the AP:

Immigration Judge Michael Straus, in decisions last week, said the ICE agents went into the immigrants’ homes without warrants, probable cause or their consent, and he put a stop to deportation proceedings against the four defendants, whose names were not released. ICE officials claim all four are from Mexico, but all four cited their Fifth Amendment rights in refusing to say what country they are from.

Two of the four immigrants lived in one home, and two lived in a second home. They said in affidavits that agents barged into both homes after residents had opened their doors only a little. The agents went into both homes looking for specific illegal immigrants on a “target list,” who weren’t found, court documents say.

Let’s hope the ruling is a sign of things to come.

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Raid Victims Awarded Visas

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Two days after the one-year anniversary of the Postville raid, 20 workers were awarded work visas under a law that protects crime victims. From the Des Moines Register:

“A government entity has found, indeed, that these women and children have been subjected to extreme emotional or physical harm by Agriprocessors,” Parras-Konrad said. “These people have been exploited, have been assaulted, have been humiliated, have been verbally and emotionally abused by this employer.”

The fact that at least 20 people were eligible to for relief in these cases clearly demonstrates that there were many others who should have seen their day in court and who were, instead, pressured into pleading guilty and promptly deported. Let’s hope the new ID theft decision and these visas mark a change in policy.

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ACTION: Day of Remembrance for Postville

Below is an action being organized by St. Bridget’s Church, the first responders on the frontlines of the raid in Postville, Iowa. Its hard to believe that we are approaching the one year anniversary of that day.

I remember listening to Sister Mary McCauley of St. Bridget’s speak out about the destruction brought by the raid. It seems only fitting that she is organizing this action to remember the event and to call for an end to the raids.

A Call for Nationwide Awareness and Commemoration

of the Postville, Iowa Immigration Raid

May 12, 2009

Tuesday, May 12 marks the first anniversary of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid on Postville, Iowa.

To stand in solidarity with the 389 people who were detained and their families, a nationwide day of remembrance has been declared to promote awareness of the devastating effects of raids.

The prayer vigil and walk to commemorate the event will be held as follows:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

3:30 p.m. – Gather at St. Bridget’s Church, 141 W Williams St, Postville, Iowa

4:00 p.m. – Prayer Vigil and Remembrance

5:00 p.m. – Solidarity Walk to Agriprocessors

The event is a unified call for comprehensive immigration reform, just labor practices, family unity and an end to raids.

Invitations will be sent throughout the country to political and faith leaders, social justice advocacy groups, and all who offered assistance to those affected by the raid, requesting their presence in body or spirit on the day of the event.

On this nationwide day of remembrance and solidarity,

  1. We urge faith communities of all denominations to sound a call for justice, e.g., ringing of church bells or blowing of the shofar at 10:00 a.m., the time the raid began.
  2. Text of the prayer vigil and remembrance will be available for adaptation for local use after April 15 at www.postvillestbridget.org.
  3. Individuals and towns are encouraged to don red ribbons as in Postville on the day of the raid.

Media Contact: Sister Mary McCauley, BVM

Email: mmccauley@bvmcong.org

Phone: 563.581.6877

Prayer Vigil text available after April 15 at www.postvillestbridget.org

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