Boston May Day Committee (BMDC) condemns targeting of immigrant workers by ICE agents and Foxboro police department

BMDC calls for legalization of all undocumented workers now

Build May Day 2010

On January 6, Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents and police officers from Foxboro, Massachusetts, detained 58 immigrant workers at a road block near Gillette Stadium. They targeted a caravan of four passenger vans traveling from Providence, Rhode Island. The workers had been hired to shovel snow off the seats at Gillette Stadium where the New England Patriots football team would be playing the coming weekend.

An ICE spokesperson said five of the workers detained had been previously deported but had re-entered the United States illegally. Those five workers face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the felony of re-entering the country without permission after deportation.

The other workers were taken to a nearby police station where they were fingerprinted, photographed and released with orders to report back to ICE to determine their legal status in the country.

Most of the detainees are Guatemalan immigrants living in Rhode Island.

When they were released federal officials offered rides to Gillette Stadium for those who wanted to go to work.

The Boston May Day Committee condemns this ICE action. ICE officials said they were only targeting “fugitive aliens” and or “criminals” but that is not fact. They’ve arrested dozens of workers who were not “targeted” and they sent a direct threat in their message to the millions of workers who are in this country seeking jobs and to work that they could be next.

The Obama Administration has continued its policies to raid factories, to raid immigrant communities, places of business, and private homes depicting many detained workers as criminals. By doing this, the US government hopes to undercut support for legalization of undocumented immigrants. The Administrations has also stepped up the persecution of workers through “quiet” means, such as the massive crackdown in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) in October, where 1,200 janitors were fired from their jobs as the Obama Administration follows its policy to “punish” employers who hire undocumented workers.

Last year ICE deported 387,000 immigrants - the highest in US history.

During the recent Foxboro detentions, in perhaps one of their most cynical moves yet, ICE officials drove those they had previously detained to work, underlying the fact that the bosses want to keep the supply of immigrant workers coming in but with more control over the labor supply in this time of economic crisis.

They want to reserve and maintain a supply of super exploited layer of workers, as a reserve army of labor that they can tap at will. By keeping millions of immigrant workers “illegal” they hope to intimidate them, undermine their self-confidence, keep them from joining and revitalizing our unions, and lower the value of the labor power of all workers.

The BMDC believes and states the exact opposite and welcome all immigrant workers with or without “papers”. They are not “illegals” they are our fellow workers. This is why the message of the May Day 2010 rally is, ALL WORKERS UNITE, NATIVE AND IMMIGRANT ALIKE!

Boston, January 17, 2010.