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Speak Out Against Immigration Raids in Santa Cruz
by ~Bradley (bradley [at] riseup.net)
Monday Sep 18th, 2006 7:38 PM
On September 15th, an emergency protest was held at the County Government Building in Santa Cruz. Community members, including teachers, students and workers, spoke out against the recent immigration raids in Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Hollister. A bilingual elementary school teacher explained that her students are very scared to go out in public. Other speakers talked about racism in our society and ongoing attacks against workers through imperialism and capitalism.
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Following the rally, the Watsonville Brown Berets, Santa Cruz Anti-Imperialist League, ISO and individuals from the community held a meeting to discuss ways to support all people, especially "undocumented" migrants, in the face of ongoing government repression. Finally, Watsonville Brown Berets and others marched through the streets of downtown Santa Cruz and the Beach Flats to show solidarity, raise awareness and amplify voices dissenting against capitalism and the fascist US Government. Photos from the emergency Reclaim The Streets will be posted as another article. Thanks to the people that organized these events and to everyone that came out to show community solidarity.
§107 Desaparecidos
by ~Bradley Monday Sep 18th, 2006 7:38 PM
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§Maestra
by ~Bradley Monday Sep 18th, 2006 7:38 PM
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§Jen
by ~Bradley Monday Sep 18th, 2006 7:38 PM
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§Crowd
by ~Bradley Monday Sep 18th, 2006 7:38 PM
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§Woody
by ~Bradley Monday Sep 18th, 2006 7:38 PM
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Comments  (Hide Comments)

Since the abductions took place on September 7th and 8th in the Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Hollister areas, more details have emerged.

At Friday's event people heard stories of the disappeared and their loved ones. Only a small fraction of the 107 actually had warrants for their arrests; of those, it is unclear how many, if any, were wanted for violent crimes. According to reports, perpetrators knocked on peoples' homes as early as 4:00 a.m., some stating that they were there to speak to them about their children. In some circumstances, the perpetrators entered a home after not finding who they were looking for and then forced people to provide documentation for them.

One man heard a noise in the alley behind his home and went out to investigate. He was taken without a trace and without the notification of his family. In perhaps the most alarming case, the parents of two young children were abducted. The two children were left alone and unattended without any regard for their welfare -- a crime in and of itself.

According to another report from "Riba", the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office assisted the unidentified abducting agents with the raids. Questions remain concerning the extent of assistance provided and what other law enforcement units may have also participated in the raids. Readers are encouraged to post more information.

Law enforcement officers should be aware that they have every right to refuse to participate in inhumane operations such as these. Though immigration law is somewhat unclear, the United States is still an endorser (and author) of the Geneva Conventions as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These recent abductions are in clear violation of common operating procedure of previous U.S. immigration policy as well as international humanitiarian law. When the Bush Regime is disempowered, it is entirely probable that individuals in the United States who committed crimes against humanity will be held to account -- either from a domestic body or an international one.

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Here is an interesting portion of an article from the Register-Pajaronian from September 12. It details the rationale that these abductors used to nab people. Notice that they say that the people were not informed of their rights and they were under "administrative" arrest. In other words, these weren't really arrests. They were, in fact, abductions.

-- snip --

Several locals said this week that they were enraged by what they saw as indiscriminate raids.

When Gloria Palomo, a leader of the group Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action, or COPA, discovered that a Live Oak couple she described as pillars of the community had been deported, she couldn’t believe it, she said. The couple was taken from their home early Friday morning, leaving their 13- and 20-year-old daughters behind.

“These are people that have collaborated with us for years, they’re very involved in the community, they attend church, they have their own business … Now their daughter is asking where her parents are.”

The couple lived in the United States for 14 years, Palomo said. They had hired a San Francisco immigration lawyer three years ago to help them file paperwork. Instead, Palomo said, the lawyer defrauded the couple out of $15,000, leaving their paperwork incomplete.

When ICE officials came to their door, Palomo said they were not informed of their rights.

“We are very angry,” she said. “It didn’t have to be like this.”

ICE agents have the authority to arrest anyone they find to be an illegal immigrant, said Tim Aitken, deputy director for detention and removal at the San Francisco field office of ICE.

If a person is unable to produce proof of their legal status, the agents may conduct an interview to determine if enough evidence suggests a person is an illegal immigrant. If the evidence reaches the threshold of probable cause, the agent may arrest the person, he said.

These arrests are not considered criminal arrests, said ICE representative Lori Haley. They are called “administrative arrests,” and for this reason, ICE could not release the names of those arrested last week.

Aitken provided a rough breakdown of the arrests, however: Of the 107 people arrested last week, 87 have already been removed to Mexico.

Of the remaining 20, three were from other countries, and the agency was seeking authority to deport them, he said.

Every immigrant ICE finds to be in the country illegally has the opportunity to see an immigration judge, Aitken said. Of the arrestees who had not been removed, 17 had requested a hearing before an immigration judge. The process does not involve the right to an attorney, however, those arrested may hire an attorney to help them, he said.

If the immigration judge rules that an immigrant must be removed, they may not have another opportunity to see a judge, he said. Of those arrested, 45 were considered fugitives who had disobeyed immigration judges’ orders to leave the country.

Keegan said he suspected that most people didn’t know they could ask for an immigration judge, nor did they know that their families could hire an attorney.

“They were working against the clock,” he said. “I don’t know of anyone who actually got an attorney.”

-- snip --

Read more at: http://www.register-pajaronian.com/main.php?story_id=4590&page=1

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