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Sat Mar 10 2007 Morning Vigils Aim to Help Immigrant Community Feel Safer
In the wake of two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) of 5:00am raids by I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) teams in San Rafael and Novato, numerous Marin County groups felt called to respond. The Marin Interfaith Council, in cooperation with numerous local civic and community groups, announced that vigils will be held each morning from 5:00am to 8:30am in solidarity with immigrant neighbors in the Canal District of San Rafael. The first vigil of witness and solidarity took place on Friday, March 9th, at Medway and Canal Streets in the San Rafael Canal District (imc_photo.gif Photos: 1 | 2), and these actions will reportedly continue "until no longer necessary." Some 50 religious leaders and activists were stationed around the area to tell neighbors and Federal officials "'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."

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. When the ICE knocked on doors before dawn, agents identified themselves as "Police," pushed their way into living rooms-- rousting people from their beds-- and questioned everyone in the house. They arrested people en masse, (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. As has happened in other raids around the US, “old” or invalid addresses, were used along with 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 says, "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." On Monday March 12th, Canal Alliance, Canal Welcome Center, and Parent Services Project will hold a community meeting in response to the raids, at 6:00pm at the Pickleweed Center, at 50 Canal St in San Rafael. The ICE raids will be an agenda item at the Marin County Board of Supervisors Meeting on Tuesday, March 13th at 9:30am, in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, Room 330, Civic Center, San Rafael, CA 94903.

ICE Raids Monitoring Report Form | Announcement from Marin Interfaith Council | Canal Alliance | Marin Peace and Justice Coalition | ACLU Seeks Records on Immigration Enforcement Actions in Northern California

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