23 May 2008 ~ 0 Comments

ICE Watch – Terror tactics persist in sanctuary cities – California

The domestic terrorism of ICE continues in our immigrant communities here in the Bay Area. Don’t tell me that these agents are just doing their jobs; so were Nazi officials.

Under the post 9/11 breakup of INS, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the merging of the former INS with Customs and Border Protection (BCBP), if an individual is in the U.S. illegally, the ICE agent, no matter how sorry he or she may feel for that individual, has little to no discretion. “This is in direct contrast to the old days when INS Investigators who worked within the same agency as INS adjudications—all under the umbrella of the old U.S. Department of Justice– and came across heart wrenching situations of would be deportees could turn to their colleagues and attempt to work out an equitable solution.” (http://www.pontealdia.com/press.php?article=27459&section=42&edition=421)

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says agents have arrested more than 900 people in California on immigration violations during a three-week sting targeting people who ignored deportation orders.

The agency said Friday that 495 of the 905 people arrested were targeted in the operation. The other 410 just happened to be on the scene when agents arrived. Northern California accounted for the most arrests, with 441. The Los Angeles area followed with 327 arrests. The San Diego area accounted for the other 137.

ICE has arrested more than 1,600 illegal immigrants in Northern California since Oct. 1, Kice said. Of those, 1,000 had previously been ordered deported and more than 300 had criminal records.

We have students and American citizen children that are victims in these raids.

The Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held hearings this past week concerning “ICE Workplace Raids: Their Impact on U.S. Children, Families, and Communities.” Witnesses explored how immigration enforcement could be improved in order to protect children, most of whom are American citizens.

Subcommittee Chairwoman Lynn Woolsey opened the hearing with a long list of ICE raids in immigrant communities, highlighting that 12 children arrested at the raids in Postville were children between the ages of 15-17, working at the plant in violation of child labor laws and that as of last Thursday, they were still in detention. (Why is the employer–Agriprocessors–still in business?)

We have 4.7 million children in households where at least one parent is undocumented. 3.1 million of these children are American citizens while many of the rest are our fellow DREAMers.

Karen Mallory, an organizer with Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action, or COPA, said she was working Wednesday with the wife of one of the men who was arrested in Capitola. Mallory said agents weren’t looking for the woman’s husband, but took him because he was undocumented and living where the wanted man had lived previously. “It makes it hard to be proud to be an American the way we’re taking people out of their homes, away from their families,” Mallory said.

Santa Cruz City Councilman Tony Madrigal, meanwhile, said the raids go against the values of the community. Resolutions have been passed in Santa Cruz and Watsonville opposing immigration raids and directing police to not cooperate with ICE agents. “I’m just concerned that there’s going to be panic again amongst parents, workers, families and children,” said Madrigal, a member of a countywide committee called Stop the Raids. “Our local economy can’t continue to take these kinds of hits.”

Tom Wilson, executive director of the Canal Alliance, labeled the ICE tactics “terrorist” actions. “It’s like an assault,” Wilson said. “These people are terrified.”

Juan Carlos of Canal Alliance in email communication –

Out of 40 warrants, 17 people were taken from their homes in the Canal Neighborhood.Agents from Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched raids of Canal neighborhood homes at 5 am Thursday May 22, 2008, only two days after Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey held a hearing on the impact of immigration enforcement on children. It’s reported that 17 people were taken, including the father of a Bahia Vista student who was due to have cancer surgery today. His young son came in crying to school and said “my daddy was taken and now i won’t see him and he is going to die”

ICE later informed that all but 4 of the detainees were released. That means 13 people did not have to be dragged out of their homes. The detainees being released include the woman who was detained and whose children had to be sent to a neighbor’s house because no one else was home to watch them, and the man who recently had surgery for renal cancer. However, the 4 still detained have final deportation orders.

  • 79 children at Bahia Vista did not go to school
  • 65 children at San Pedro did not go to school
  • 25 children from Venetia Valley did not go to school
  • 53 children at Davidson Middle did not go to school

Bahia Vista Principal Juan Rodriguez saw ICE rounding up people on the children’s route to walk to school. Innocent, legal children witnessed their friends and families being hauled off in unmarked SUV’s. Children are terrified that their parents will be taken and that they too are being watched.

HOWEVER, DOZENS OF YOUTH BECAME HEROES. Youth text messaged friends and families to spread the news while others ran home. News traveled quickly. Many residents kept their doors closed to the intense pounding of ICE officials on their doors, following protocols learned at recent immigration trainings. Some witnesses reported that residents were driven off in SUVs, vans, and station wagons that were unmarked with no license plates. Officers were also seen in civilian clothing, though some did have on ICE/Police jackets. No members of San Rafael police were present however ICE had notified them in advance of the raid. These youth demonstrated courage early in the morning just before they went to school and as one young girl stated. “i would have stayed longer, but i was too scared that my teacher would get me in trouble for being late to school”

Why do our children have to become the armor of the community?

"When ICE agents are terrorizing lawful residents and young children,
there can be no doubt that the dragnet home-raids practice is deeply flawed,"
said Bassina Farbenblum, an attorney at the Seton Hall Center for Social
Justice. "These aren't isolated cases. What happened to the Chavez family and
the other plaintiffs in our case is typical of the government's widespread
home-raids practice, which continues to undermine the rule of law and instill
fear throughout immigrant communities."
Previously, in January 2008, the Center for Social Justice, represented by
Lowenstein Sandler, and the community newspaper Brazilian Voice filed a
Freedom of Information Act lawsuit challenging the government's withholding of
raids-related documents: http://law.shu.edu/csj/iceraids.html.
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