"ICE, ICE, Get out of the way, Happy Mothers Day!" -- Protesters Demanded an End to the Raids, Detentions & Deportations
Boston, May 10, 2009.- Nearly 60 people demonstrated around the Suffolk County Jail in Boston (known as South Bay House of Corrections) in protest for the detention of immigrants in that facility. The signs and the chants indicated what the protesters wanted: an end to the represion of immigrant workers and their families, legalization, family reunification. All this in the context of the commercial celebration of Mother's Day. The prisoners were fully aware of the presence of the demonstrators and banged their cell windows furiously.
While the main objective of the demonstration was to protest the fact that the Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral is profitting from the current federal persecution of immigrants, the demonstrators made the connections between the general prison system and the prison system for immigrants. Both affect disproportionately the poor and people of color.
Sheriff Cabral recently declared to the Boston Globe that "[Holding immigrant prisoners] has been a lifesaver for my budget." Advocates for migrant workers rights are demanding that a solution be found to the situation of around 12 million undocumented immigrants. This solution should be a humane one and not more repression and imprisonment and violation of human rights of the detainees. Many detainees are held for long periods of time in horrible prison conditions before deportation.
The statement issued by the Resist the Raids Network that called the demonstrations said in part, "According to Amnesty International, more than 400,000 men, women and children are detained by US immigration authorities each year. The majority of immigration detainees are held by state and county jails under agreements with the federal agency. They include asylum seekers, torture survivors, victims of human trafficking, longtime lawful permanent residents, and the parents of US citizen children. The use of detention as a tool to combat unauthorized migration falls short of international human rights law, which contains a clear presumption against detention. Everyone has the right to liberty, freedom of movement, and the right not to be arbitrarily detained.
Everyday in Massachusetts, approximately 800 immigrants and asylum-seekers are in detention in county jails around the state waiting to be deported or fighting a legal battle to stay in the country. None of those persons are serving sentences for having committed a crime. They have not been judged by a jury or their peers."
The demonstrations was carried out in an orderly fashion, the message delivered loud and clear and the demonstrators promised they will back. For more information check www.resisttheraids.org and www.bostonmayday.org
For a gallery of pictures of the demonstration visit www.bostonmayday.org/photos_5_10_2009