City Hall Plaza Rally Denounces ICE Raids Demands Fair Immigration Policies
BOSTON/Government Center - Over 150 advocates from immigrants rights organizations, unions, religious groups and allies held a rally at City Hall Plaza on Wednesday to demand fair immigration policies and denounce the ongoing raids against immigrant communities by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
The centerpiece of the demonstration was an extended piece of political theater - meant to throw the plight of immigrants into bold relief - that involved dozens of performers divided into 3 groups: prisoners, police, and the community. The handcuffed "prisoners" - some with duct tape over their mouths - sat in a circle on the ground surrounded by "police" labelled POLI.C.E., in reference to the ICE officers that have led raids against immigrants. The two groups were partially surrounded by "community" members carrying signs with various pro-immigrant slogans.
The performance was narrated by Gladys Vega of Chelsea Collaborative and Patricia Montes of Centro Presente. Montes then led off a series of speakers, saying "We are denouncing the military-style practices of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency - ICE - who, in collaboration with local police departments, are terrorizing immigrant communities. Under the guise of apprehending “criminal aliens”, armed and uniformed officers are entering people’s homes in the wee hours of the morning, stopping people on the streets and at train stations, and raiding places of work. In reality, most of the immigrants detained and deported are people with deportation orders and legal permanent residents with misdemeanors. Yet, they are being treated worse than criminals. Detained without due process, denied a simple phone call, much less an attorney, and transferred in a matter of days to detentions centers across the country where anguished and greaving family members cannot easily locate them. The failure of the Congress to enact responsible immigration reform has given way to an inhumane de-facto polity of enforcement-only."
Several other speakers followed including Dimple Rana of Deported Diaspora, "All immigrant communities condemn the ICE raids, detentions, and deportations of loved ones and community members. There needs to be justice and due process. I have lived in Cambodia with 187 people deported from across the USA and don't want to see more of my friends deported. I had two friends this week deported to Cambodia. 4 friends who were detained by ICE last week.
"ICE should immediately stop all raids," Rana continued. "Raids instill fear in communities and instill mistrust in government institutions. They unnecessarily tear families apart. ICE should make information about those who have been detained in these raids easily available to the families of the detainees. For example, why were they detained, where were they taken, how long will they be there, what are the next steps planned for these individuals? Community members should contact their Senators and Representative in order to express their concern about these raids. Community members should also contact the local ICE office in order to continue to try to get more information about the raids and who has been impacted."
Montes summed up. "The current state of immigration policy and its harsh enforcement, are not only out of step with our current global economy and global interconnectedness, but they also violate the United States’ core foundational principles: All human beings are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights by the Creator. The gross inhumane treatment being perpetrated against immigrants is not acceptable. We are here to say enough! No more raids! No more ICE presence in our neighborhoods! Our main demand is the enactment of responsible and humane immigration reform, including legal permanent residency for all undocumented immigrants. We demand the humane treatment of immigrants. We demand the re-unification of our families."
There were no counter-protestors or ICE spokespeople present at the event.
Chuck Rosina of Boston Indymedia and WMBR-FM has an audio report on this event athttp://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/205433/index.php.