Stand With Our Immigrant Brothers on January 10
Attached is a national statement from Refuse & Resist! regarding the second deadline on January 10th for tens of thousands of immigrants from 13 mainly Arab and Muslim countries to register with the INS - quite possibly "pre-registration" for internment, as the statement says.
The Los Angeles Chapter of Refuse & Resist!, along with Not In Our Name and many other organizations, is calling on everyone to be at the downtown L.A. INS (300 N. Los Angeles Street, just north of Temple) on Friday, January 10th, starting at noon. Bring signs and banners and say "No! to registration and detentions." We'll be wearing blue triangles with the names of detainees, saying "DISAPPEARED IN THE USA!" If you've got a blue triangle, be sure to wear it. If you'd like to get blue triangles, please contact us.
An Emergency Call to Action from Refuse & Resist
Stand With Our Immigrant Brothers on January 10
Every person of conscience, every person who respects the human rights of others, every person who does not want to see this country turned into a nation behind barbed wire, has to be at their local Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) office on January 10. This is the second deadline for tens of thousands of aliens from specific Arab and Muslim countries to register with the government -- quite possibly "pre-registration" for internment. This is one of those moments in history that determines whether we will let the government pick off groups one at time, with us all being led like sheep to the slaughter in the end, or whether people will take a stand and say "This has gone too far. IT STOPS HERE!"
Under provisions required by the so-called USA-Patriot Act, all men 16 years and older from eleven Muslim countries (plus North Korea) in the United States must report to the INS (now a part of the Department of Homeland Security) to be questioned, photographed, and fingerprinted. On December 16, the deadline for men from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Syria, when thousands attempted to comply with the law, hundreds of those reporting were seized, hand-cuffed, crowded into detention cells or spirited away to unknown locations.
In Los Angeles, one fourth of those who showed up to register were jailed. "It was the worst day I've ever spent at INS in 20 years of working with them," reported one Los Angeles immigration attorney. "We were on the eighth floor of the federal building in Los Angeles and everyone in the corridor was weeping or in a state of extreme anxiety."
Ramona Ripston, executive director of the Southern California chapter of the ACLU, said the arrests were reminiscent of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Only massive protests at INS offices secured the release of at least some of those detained.
In announcing this new program to round-up immigrants, Attorney-General Ashcroft gave this explanation for the new "National Security Entry-Exit Registration System":
"In this new war, our enemy's platoons infiltrate our borders, quietly blending in with visiting tourists, students, and workers. They move unnoticed through our cities, neighborhoods, and public spaces. They wear no uniforms. Their camouflage is not forest green, but rather it is the color of common street clothing. Their tactics rely on evading recognition at the border and escaping detection within the United States. Their terrorist mission is to defeat America, destroy our values and kill innocent people."
Besides being a disgusting call to hate and fear immigrants, this is a lie. The new program has nothing to do with stopping terrorists, and everything to do with tightening police state controls over everyone. As a matter of fact, these same procedures will soon be extended to ALL of the 35 millions visitors who enter the US every year, no matter what country they come from. The REAL purpose of the current selective registrations was summed up well by The Arab-American News of Dearborn, MI, which wrote:
"[T]he fact is that the government is only interested in instilling terror in the hearts and minds of Arabs and Muslims everywhere. Why? The coming firestorm in the Middle East. Conducting the Bush Administration's brand of foreign policy can be difficult with a nation of immigrants looking on, so shutting those immigrants up is mandatory."
That's right. With an unjust, immoral and illegitimate war planned on a major Arab country, what the government has set out to do is terrorize a source of potential opposition. The Arab-American News went on to note that by seizing many of those who tried to cooperate and who did report on December 16, the real purpose of this whole action was to set up Arab and Muslim immigrants for even worse to come: "We believe it was designed to actually discourage further cooperation from the community . . . Henceforth, when thousands of people don't cooperate in any given initiative out of well-founded fear and mistrust of the Bush-Ashcroft regime, detention camps can be set up all over the country."
"It couldn't happen here!" you say? Just talk to some of the Japanese-Americans who spent World War II locked in U.S. concentration camps. The government did it before and they will do it again, unless we stop them. On January 10 there must be thousands of Americans surrounding INS offices. YOU need to be there. It is more important than going to work or to school that day.
Refuse & Resist! calls on everyone to join with local civil liberties and immigrants rights groups, make signs and banners, and be at your local INS office on January 10 to say "NO to registrations and detention."
Refuse & Resist!