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[PAST] March 8 JPRRN Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Jamaica Plain Rapid Response Network
Contact: Dorotea Manuela
Phone: 617.922.5744
Web: www.bostonmayday.org

Human and Immigrant Rights Advocates and Supporters
Commemorating First Anniversary of Massive ICE Raid on 366 New Bedford Immigrant Workers and Celebrating International Women's Day!


Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 2:30pm
Nate House - 155 Lamartine Street in Jamaica Plain
(Orange line, Stony brook station)


The program will include Updates from attorneys on cases stemming from the March 2007 raid and on immigrant rights; Solidarity messages from labor Unions, Testimony from raid victims and the Launching of Network emergency hotline. There will also be a presentation of Short videos and cultural acts.

While the year 2006 witnessed the largest mobilizations of immigrant workers and their supporters on the streets of major cities, and Millions across the nation came out to reject legislation that would criminalize undocumented immigrants and those who protected them. And, on May 1st. 2006, a day that the majority of the world recognizes as International Workers Day, a boycott, strike and demonstrations were called to demand that undocumented workers be granted basic human and labor rights.

The year 2007 witnessed an intensified response in the attack on immigrant workers through first, a massive ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raid on New Bedford affecting more than 300 persons and second, a series of continuing raids throughout the nation. In Massachusetts, 18 workers were arrested in Nantucket in June, another raid in Chelsea at the beginning of August. By the end of August, ICE and many other local enforcement agencies roamed East Boston, Everett, Lynn, Revere and Somerville. ICE ended the year 2007 by carrying out a raid in Milford.

While the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) police force is a newly created agency it has already raided working places and neighborhoods from the south to the north. In Massachusetts, the severe character of the New Bedford raid and the implications it had on the separation of families with particular notice that most of the detained workers were mothers, prompted a change in tactics by ICE. From that, point on they justified their raids as “actions against criminal elements”.

As we witness presidential campaigns, it becomes obvious that there is no agreement between Democrats and Republicans to solve the "immigration" problems that affect more than 12 million people in the United States. Instead, the Bush administration has responded by escalating the repression of undocumented workers across the country.

We say that the government declared war on undocumented immigrant workers. The objective of this war, codenamed "Operation Endgame" is to remove 12 million people form the USA by the year 2012. The Office of Detention and Removal Operations refers to this action in a document titled "Strategic Plan, 2003-2012 Detention and Removal Strategy for a Secure Homeland."

The document’s title clearly reveals that this is part of the war on terrorism. In order to reach its goal, Homeland Security is expected to remove by force at least 1.3 million undocumented immigrants per year at an estimated cost of 100 billion dollars.

The human cost of this war translates into fear and repression. U.S. citizens and documented immigrants living in the U.S. do not accept the inequity, violation of human rights and destruction of families that this war has wreaked. This is why people of good will across this nation are responding to this repression by standing in solidarity and support for the human rights and safety of these workers and their families. We, the Jamaica Plain Rapid Response Network as part of this movement are preparing to respond to the crisis and related threats of ICE raids in the Jamaica Plain community by providing a rapid response network.

To mark the first anniversary of the massive ICE raid on New Bedford and in honor of the women who have been sacrificed and victimized in raids, we have chosen March 8th to launch our emergency hotline. We will also discuss in depth the events and activities since the New Bedford raid of March 6, 2006.

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