imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

US government arrests record numbers in factory raids

by Peter Daniels Sunday, Apr. 23, 2006 at 6:36 AM

In a nationwide dragnet Wednesday, US immigration enforcement agents raided factories across the country arresting nearly 1,200 undocumented workers, a record number for a single operation. The raids come in the wake of massive demonstrations throughout the country protesting reactionary anti-immigrant legislation in Congress and demanding full legal status and citizenship rights for the millions of undocumented workers who have come to find jobs and a better life.

The immigration raids hit plants of the German-based IFCO Systems company, which makes and recycles wooden pallets and containers. Heavily armed agents in bullet-proof vests swooped down on factories in Texas, upstate New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, Virginia and Massachusetts at approximately 9 a.m., rounding up workers and loading them into buses and vans. Searches and arrests were conducted at a total of 40 facilities spread out over 26 states.

The Homeland Security Department held a press conference after the raids, proclaiming them to be part of a new “interior enforcement strategy” and promising a continuing crackdown. “Employers and workers alike should be on notice that the status quo has changed,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Many of those involved in the recent immigration demonstrations see Wednesday’s raids as an act of retaliation aimed at silencing these protests.

“This is a scare tactic,” Angela Mejia, who helped organize the massive April 10 march in Houston, Texas, told the Houston Chronicle. “We haven’t had raids for a very long, long time. It’s a sad thing if we have raids by the government to stop people from expressing their freedom of speech.”

The intimidation apparently had a significant effect. Reports from other cities told of weeping family members outside of factories and of immigrant neighborhoods where people were staying away from work and even stores for fear of being caught in a round-up.

Together with the raids and arrests, hundreds of immigrant workers have been fired or otherwise penalized by employers across the US in the past several weeks, in retaliation for their participation in the mass demonstrations.

The firings occurred at establishments from Florida to Texas to Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. In Texas, workers at a seafood restaurant in Houston were discharged, as were welders at an air-conditioning factory in Tyler. Restaurant workers in Milwaukee, meatpackers in Detroit (See “Mexican workers fired for attending immigrant rights rally in Detroit”) and factory workers in Illinois lost their jobs. In some instances, the workers were offered their jobs back, but only after proving that they had legal status.

Students have also been penalized for leaving their classes. This had tragic consequences in Ontario, California on March 30, when 14-year-old Anthony Soltero shot himself to death. His family said the suicide was triggered by a threat from the vice principal of his school that he would be fined and jailed for participating in a March 28 walkout. Students dedicated an April 15 immigrant rights rally in Los Angeles to Anthony’s memory.

A national day of action has been called for May 1, with organizers calling on immigrants to skip work and school. There is little doubt that the immigration raids and the firings have been carried out and widely publicized in part as a warning against participation in the May 1 action.

Los Angeles Catholic Cardinal Mahony, who protested the anti-immigrant legislation, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who calls himself a “friend” of immigrants, have both urged immigrants to ignore the May 1 call. Some of the officials and radio personalities who helped organize the earlier protests have already called for “responsible” protest and urged students to stay in school and workers to obtain permission before missing work.

The mass arrests and firings, however, are only part of a series of developments which amount to a counterattack in response to the mass mobilizations in defense of immigrant rights that have taken place in recent weeks.

While Congressional leaders now claim they will remove the provocative stipulation in pending legislation that would turn all undocumented workers into criminal felons, they are still proposing to make their presence in the country a misdemeanor, meaning they could be arrested and jailed for a crime. Meanwhile, on the state and local level, authorities are escalating their own attacks on these exploited sections of the working class.

In Georgia, for instance, Governor Sonny Perdue has just signed a bill that imposes drastic new conditions affecting the employment of immigrants and their access to state benefits.

The Georgia law requires immigrants to prove their legal status if they are seeking various state benefits. The police are required to check the immigration status of people they arrest. Thousands of immigrants and their supporters demonstrated against the bill or participated in a one-day work stoppage to protest it.

The New York Times reported recently on the growing crackdown on immigrants by local officials. In some areas the legal status of all immigrants in the criminal justice system is being checked, and federal immigration agents are being called so that undocumented workers can be deported. These measures have been taken in areas of the country that are supposedly friendlier to immigrants.

In Putnam County, New York, for instance, a suburban area only 50 miles from New York City, the County Sheriff arrested eight immigrants who were playing soccer on a school ball field and held them for immigration authorities. Seven were able to make bail, but the eighth, a 33-year-old father of five, has been in federal prison in Pennsylvania awaiting deportation since last January.

Local officials who already hold strong anti-immigrant views have been emboldened by the bipartisan political rhetoric legitimizing new crackdowns and using the so-called war against terrorism to call for closing US borders. The sheriff in Putnam County, Donald Smith, said, “We have a situation in our country where our borders are not being adequately protected, and that leaves law enforcement people like us in a very difficult situation.”

Smith said federal immigration agents were called because the sheriff’s deputies suspected the men were “illegal” and “because we are trying to uphold the law for the citizens of this county.” The men were arrested for playing soccer and charged with trespass, a class B misdemeanor. Bail for seven was set at ,000, but Juan Jimeniz, the worker now held in Pennsylvania, was held on ,000 bail because he could not provide his home address.

In many areas, unusually high bail is being set for very minor offenses so that immigrants are unable to post bond before federal agents arrive to take them into custody prior to deportation. Daniel Beck, the sheriff of Allen County in Ohio, complained, “When they are in this country illegally, it’s really a right and wrong issue. I will arrest them. Unfortunately, by the time a federal agent gets here, they are sometimes already bailed out of jail.”

The Times quotes a Long Island immigration lawyer. “The heat is definitely getting turned up. Not just on criminals, but against people I would consider charged with relatively minor offenses: Having an invalid driver’s license, a fake Social Security card. A person with a job and a family can end up sitting in jail for months, and then being deported.”

In some municipalities, local officials have invoked a 1996 federal law to seek special training in immigration enforcement for local police, in what amounts to a federalization and major expansion of police powers for the specific purpose of targeting undocumented workers. One area where this is taking place is Costa Mesa, California, in suburban Los Angeles, where the city council has authorized the training of local officers in the pursuit of immigrants, a job that was always left to federal enforcement.

In Los Angeles itself, the police have an internal rule that says “undocumented alien status is not a matter for police enforcement.” Similar rules apply in New York, but, with prodding and approval from the Bush administration, there are moves to change these policies.

Congress will soon be returning from a two-week recess and a new effort is expected to broker a “compromise” along the lines of the Senate deal that quickly fell apart two weeks ago, soon after it was cobbled together. The proposed Senate bill, heralded in the media and by big business politicians as a “reform” that would place some undocumented immigrants on the road to citizenship, is a piece of reactionary legislation that would militarize the long US border with Mexico and divide immigrants into three separate classes, allowing for the deportation of millions of workers who have been in the country for less than two years.

The dispute over how to deal with the immigration issue finds large sections of the Republican Party in opposition to the position of the White House, demanding more punitive measures, but also cuts across party lines. On one side are the Bush administration and the Democratic Party leadership, along with the Chamber of Commerce and other big business representatives, who badly need sources of cheap labor and are more than happy to use the undocumented status of immigrants to intimidate them and pit them against other sections of the working class. On the other side are the anti-immigrant xenophobes, who specialize in scapegoating the foreign-born, blaming them for low wages, unemployment, crime and numerous other products of the crisis of the profit system itself.

There are no fundamental differences between these forces. The “pro-immigrant” spokesmen are nothing of the kind. As Farrell Quinlan, a vice president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, said recently on the subject of closing the border, “Do we want to see a wall or a fence go up on the border? I don’t know. If that’s what it takes to get a guest worker program right now, then that might be the price to pay.”

The millions of immigrant workers who have risked their jobs and their status in the US by coming into the streets to demand their rights are unrepresented in the Congressional deliberations. The same is true of the working class as a whole. The concern of both Democrats and Republicans is how to control the immigrants, how to strangle the potential for independent working class struggle shown by the recent protests, while continuing to fill the needs for cheap labor of US agribusiness and other major employers.

-world socialist website

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Illegal Russians Receiving Land and Homes in West Bank 2018 J22 11:24AM

Un monde de pauvreté J22 12:54AM

14 Disturbing Facts About Scott Gottlieb, Trump's FDA Head J20 10:47PM

Behind the scenes at fbi National Academy J20 2:47PM

Treasury Takes Aim at Shell Companies J20 11:18AM

Paraphysique de l'intelligence J20 9:08AM

Oklahoma GOP Senator Jim Inhofe's Bloody Record J20 4:01AM

Globalization: hope on the horizon despite Fake Liberals. J20 3:41AM

Sorry President Trump,Ted Cruz Texas Judicial System,is Worse Than Many Shithole Countries J19 4:49PM

The Shortwave Report 07/20/18 Listen Globally! J19 4:33PM

The System Question as a Survival Question J18 8:54PM

Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control J18 11:55AM

Du pain et des jeux J18 9:53AM

Paraphysique de martyrologie J17 8:00AM

Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator J16 11:24AM

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy