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North Bay / Marin | Immigrant Rights

Marin Interfaith Council Canal Neighborhood Vigil
by The Rev. Carol Hovis
Thursday Mar 8th, 2007 5:50 PM
The Marin Interfaith Council in cooperation with numerous local civic and community groups is announcing the following action in solidarity with our immigrant neighbors in the Canal District of San Rafael. Beginning Friday morning, March 9th, 5:00AM-8:30AM (the times of the raids!!) and continuing each week day until no longer necessary the Council is calling for a vigil of witness and solidarity to be kept in the Canal neighborhood focused primarily at the corners of Medway and Canal Streets in San Rafael.
Press Release
For Immediate Distribution
From: The Interfaith Council of Marin
Re: Vigil at Medway and Canal Streets in the San Rafael Canal District
Friday, March 9, 2007, 5:00 am-8:30 am

After much deliberation, the Marin Interfaith Council in cooperation with numerous local civic and community groups is announcing the following action in solidarity with our immigrant neighbors in the Canal District of San Rafael. Beginning Friday morning, March 9th, 5:00AM-8:30AM (the times of the raids!!) and continuing each week day until no longer necessary the Council is calling for a vigil of witness and solidarity to be kept in the Canal neighborhood focused primarily at the corners of Medway and Canal Streets in San Rafael. We are planning that at least 50 religious (lay and ordained) and civic leaders will take their places in the Canal neighborhood to say to our neighbors and to the Federal officials that "we are here, we are watching, we are in solidarity." We wish to voice our strongest opposition to these raids which are tearing families apart in our community and terrorizing our neighborhood. We especially want the children of the Canal district to know that they are safe and supported as they go to school.

This action follows two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) of 5:00 am raids by the I.C.E. ( Immigration and Customs Enforcement) teams in San Rafael and Novato. Indentifying themselves as “Police” they knocked on doors before dawn, pushed their way into living rooms rousting people from their beds and questioned everyone in the house. They arrested people en mass, (including children) and took some away without apparent legal cause. In at least one case a U.S citizen child was taken along with his father. In a number of cases, using “old” or invalid addresses, officials used their warrants as a front to invade unnamed houses and apartments. Many Canal and Novato children were afraid to go to school and many families remain afraid to go out of their homes even to shop for food. The Marin Interfaith Council and a number of civic and non-profit organizations are calling for I.C.E. to immediately cease all enforcement activities until proper protocols and adequate constitutional safeguards can be put into place to protect the innocent and those not directly targeted with arrest warrants.

Lay participants are encouraged to wear white and bring candles and flashlights. Clergy are urged to identify themselves by wearing the symbols of their faith community. We will stand vigil from 5:00am-8:30am to be present in anticipation of any potential raids, as well as provide safe passage for children to leave their homes to attend school. Participants are also urged to bring cameras and video recording equipment to document the activities of the I.C.E. teams, to “accompany” I.C.E. officials to the door as they issue their arrest warrants and to act as citizen observer/witnesses for any possible abuses of legal powers during their operations.

For further information, call the Marin Interfaith Council office at 415/456-6957 or email The Rev. Carol Hovis at chovis [at] marinifc.org