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PHOTOS & REPORT: Press Conference to Stop the Deportations of 13,000 Immigrants

by Heidi Werntz Friday, Jun. 20, 2003 at 5:29 PM
werntzphoto@hotmail.com

A wide range of organizations gathered in front of the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles at 10:00a.m., Thursday, June 19, 2003, to voice their opposition to a recent announcement by the government that 13,000 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men who registered with the INS as part of the government's controversial Special Registration Program (NSEERS) will face deportation.

PHOTOS & REPORT: Pre...
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The groups demand the immediate halt to the expulsions of men from a list of mainly Arab and Muslim nations. A report by the Inspector General of the US Department of Justice found that the Bush Administration's round-up of non-citizens immediately after 9/11 was plagued with injustices. People were jailed for months often without being formally charged or given access to lawyers. Some inmates in Brooklyn were physically and verbally abused. Despite these findings, on Thursday, May 27, 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft said, "We make no apologies," and urged Congress to expand the law to permit the US government to expand the use of the death penalty and hold more people in indefinite detentions.

The mass interrogations, round-ups, and detentions are an escalation of the racial profiling and deportations of Muslims, Arabs, Asians, Mid-Easterners, and North Africans that began after September 11, 2001. Such blatant form of racial profiling conjures up memories of the treatment of Japanese Americans durring WWII who were rounded up and put in concentration camps. This political repression aimed at foreign nationals is part and parcel of a larger, all-encompassing repressive government agenda that includes stripping away of civil liberties and the squashing of dissent.

Representatives from the following groups spoke out at the press conference: Refuse and Resist (R&R!), South Asian Network (SAN), Garment Workers Center (GWC), American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee LA/OC (ADC), Association of Filipino Workers (AFW), Not in Our Name (NION), Union of Palestinian American Women (UPAW), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), South Asian Forum, and International ANSWER.

(Text taken from press release)

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by Heidi Werntz Friday, Jun. 20, 2003 at 5:29 PM
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One of the speakers read these words, written over half a century ago in Nazi Germany by Pastor Martin Niemoeller:

First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me, and by that time, no one was left to speak up.

For more information: www.refuseandresist.org

www.bluetriangle.org

www.notinourname.net

To read NY Times article about the deportations:

http://www.refuseandresist.org/detentions/art.php?aid=877

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