Immigration Across The Nation 10/15/2008

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►Latest Immigration Raids Hit South Carolina, California

Several ICE raids throughout California yielded over 1000 arrests statewide, while in South Carolina ICE agents arrested 330 suspects, most of them Guatemalan immigrants, at a Greenville, South Carolina chicken processing plant last week in the latest in the wave of raids on businesses. One of the convicted employees, 29 year old Magdalena Domingo Ramirez Lopez, now faces deportation back to Guatemala, away from her three young children, one of whom is recovering from surgery. She was under house arrest and wearing a tracing bracelet for a brief interview with the Associated Press. “While I was being questioned, I kept thinking about my sons. I was afraid I might never see them again. In Guatemala, we ate grass for food. I don’t want to raise my sons in Guatemala.”

California, struggling to deal with drug and crime rings which a high number of non-American adherents, has been high on ICE’s list for some time, but nobody expected the raid in Greenville, which considered its burgeoning immigrant community in a positive and welcoming light. But South Carolina was ripe for an immigration raid because there is no existing state law which provides for the arrest or deportation of undocumented immigrants, leaving harsh federal intervention the only option for Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s campaign to mass-deport immigrants. Luis Garcia, an interpreter working in the area, said that the blue-collar community would be gravely affected by having so many of its residents deported. “They’re breaking families. Everyone is worried,” he said. “People are afraid to leave their homes now,” added local restaurant manager Emilio Espinoza, noting the lack of customers. A large proportion of his clientele are Guatemalan immigrants who were or are working in the area.

►Chicago Lawmakers Urge Embargo on Raids, Request Statements from McCain and Obama

“We have people running for president who have been talking about every other issue except the fact that we have a broken immigration system. They haven’t mentioned it,” said Alderman Billy Ocasio of Chicago’s 26th Ward. As Medill Reports noted, his was one of many voices for a unanimously backed city council resolution to condemn ICE’s tactics and urge the presidential candidates to make positive statements on immigrant rights before the upcoming election. “There is something wrong with our nation when we send out immigration agents to snap handcuffs onto the wrists of hardworking people while thieves on Wall Street have put our country into the brink of a national calamity,” added fellow Alderman Edward Burke.

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►Rally in Raleigh

Religious leaders came together in Raleigh, North Carolina on October 8th to stand up for immigrant rights, according to Times News Reports. It was part of a string of pro-immigrant activism in the area, including the establishment of a new North Carolina Religious Coalition for Justice for Immigrants. Religious leaders, college students, the NAACP, and the ACLU are banding together to speak out against anti-immigrant policy. “As a community, as a state, as a nation, as a world, we have done wrong. All human beings are made in God’s image,” Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh said. One of the catalysts in North Carolina is the fact that pending legislation threatens to bar all illegal immigrants from its community colleges, potentially banning many underprivileged immigrants from college education. Few of the rally attendees appeared to be of Latino descent, the Times News report noted, which points to greater support from concerned citizens.

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