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Indybay Feature
Wed Aug 6 2008 (Updated 08/08/08)
Santa Cruz Meeting to Defend El Balazo Workers
"Immigrant Rights are Workers Rights!"
On the heels of May Day marches for immigrant rights around the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers conducted raids targeting El Balazo Taqueria chain in the Bay Area on May 2. ICE officers stormed 11 different chain locations in at least six cities. According to detainees, the agents came in and locked the doors. No one was allowed to leave as every taqueria employee on duty in all locations was interrogated.

ICE claimed to have had warrants for "wanted criminals" and insisted that it didn't do a haphazard sweep. But according to its own press statement, ICE arrested 62 people, all of them Latino. The detainees were taken to the ICE office in downtown San Francisco.

Immigrant workers across the country are facing the same type of repression—from Iowa and Texas to right here in Santa Cruz County. In San Francisco, politicians (including Mayor Gavin Newsom) and the corporate media are conducting a publicity campaign blaming immigrants for the problems of crime and poverty in Bay Area cities.

A forum took place on August 7th at the Beach Flats Community Center in Santa Cruz to hear El Balazo workers and movement activists talk about the impact of the raids and the progress of the defense campaign, and to discuss the way forward in the struggle for immigrant rights. Read More
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