We stand by our leaders!
The repressive apparatus of the State, which includes ICE, is quietly singling out and attacking our leaders wherever they emerge. Leaders of the immigrant community and their support networks are currently in the bull’s-eye. This is happening despite the fact that a majority of U.S. citizens favor amnesty and a path to citizenship. It is happening despite the fact that each of these leaders has deep roots and family ties in the United States. It is being done to isolate the immigrant movement and divide the working class of the United States.
- Marú Mora Villalpando, originally from Mexico, leads the Seattle-based Northwest Detention Center Resistance, and has championed hunger striking immigrants protesting inhumane conditions in these privately owned prisons. She has been served with an ICE deportation order.
- Jean Montrevil, of Haiti, cofounder of New Sanctuary in New York was detained two weeks before a scheduled check in.
- Ravi Ragbir originally of Trinidad and executive director of New Sanctuary was detained for deportation but flown back to New York for a hearing.
- And in an assault on church sanctuary, ICE has detained Eliseo Jurado, whose wife Ingrid Latorre of Peru had taken sanctuary in a Colorado church.
- In California, which passed SB 54, the California Values Act, battle lines are being drawn. Federal Attorney General Jeff Sessions and acting ICE Director Thomas Homan announced plans for ICE raids in Northern California with a goal of 1500 arrests. In response, California attorney general Xavier Becerra has declared his dissatisfaction and declared that he will prosecute employers who cooperate with ICE with fines of up to $10,000.
What we are witnessing is open State-sponsored terrorism. It hearkens back to a time before the U.S. Civil War when slave catchers from Southern slave states could pursue and arrest runaway slaves in Northern free states. Back then, Black and white abolitionists were terrorized, much as the leaders of the immigrant rights movement are being terrorized and criminalized today.
Today, labor-replacing technology is pushing formerly employed people onto the streets. Others are being forced to leave their homelands in search of a better future due to free-trade agreements and violence. All workers are being pushed everyone down towards the same level of poverty, no matter their color or nationality.
The only thing the ruling class can do is to keep us divided, confused and afraid. With lies that immigrants are criminals, the rulers set the stage for the repressive apparatus of the State to be used against all of the working people of the United States. Hitler did this with the German people by vilifying immigrants and Jews in the 1930’s.
What to do
To paraphrase Emiliano Zapata, some things are not negotiable.
- We must start by defending our leaders because they point the way forward for all of us.
- Prevent the separation of families. Begin with keeping our leaders united with their families here in the United States, and extend protection to the Dreamers and their families through legalization and a path toward citizenship.
- Respect the moral traditions on which this country was founded by upholding sanctuary. We can start by relying on the sense of fair play and decency of the American people as demonstrated in the sanctuary movement. With time we will all see that we have more in common than our differences. An attack on one is an attack on all!