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Chronicle story about Immigration Raid Press Conference
by repost by Jeff G
Friday Jun 25th, 2004 4:28 PM
Thanks to kick-ass media work by the coalition of immigrant rights groups who put it on, we got a good write-up in the usually-hostile Chronicle. --Jeff G
SAN FRANCISCO
100 rally to protest U.S. raids in Mission
'This is not supposed to happen' in S.F., says one organizer
- Cicero A. Estrella, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, June 24, 2004

About 100 people gathered in front of federal immigration offices
Wednesday in San Francisco to protest recent raids in the Mission District.

Organizers of the rally say they know of at least three raids by agents
with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since early May that have
resulted in arrests and deportations. They invoked San Francisco's refuge
ordinance -- which prohibits use of city funds and resources in
enforcing federal immigration laws -- in calling for an end to the sweeps.

"This is not supposed to happen in San Francisco," said Maria Poblet of
the St. Peter's Housing Committee, a tenant advocacy group in the Mission
District. "We want to call attention to these raids. We want the city
to say it's not OK."

On May 6, federal officials entered the Sunrise Hotel on Valencia
Street to detain an undocumented South Asian man, said Nick Pagoulatos of St.
Peter's Housing. The search ended with the arrests of a second South Asian man
and seven Mexican citizens. The Mexicans were quickly deported.

"They exceeded the scope of their investigation," Pagoulatos said.
"They knew the hotel had a number of other undocumented immigrants, and they
took advantage of the situation."

Pagoulatos says two other sweeps have occurred since the Sunrise Hotel
raid.

Ivy Lee, an attorney with API Legal Outreach, says there have been
similar sweeps around the country, including one in a Chinatown restaurant last
year. Immigrant rights groups have reported a rash of raids in Southern
California.

A coalition of community groups including La Raza Centro Legal, the
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, SRO Families United and St. Peter's
Housing organized the rally.

Using bullhorns, coalition members asked federal immigration agents to
meet with them. No one came out of the Sansome Street offices.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials did not return phone
calls seeking comment.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano, whose district includes the Mission, was the
first speaker at the rally.

"(The raids) are in violation of what we define as democracy in San
Francisco," Ammiano said. "It's a very bullylike attitude that really
has nothing to do with justice."

The Board of Supervisors condemned the Sunrise Hotel raid in an
Ammiano-sponsored measure that Mayor Gavin Newsom signed this month.

E-mail Cicero A. Estrella at cestrella [at] sfchronicle.com.
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