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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

ICE protest roundup

Photo courtesy of CT News Junkie

Although this is a tad bit late, here's a roundup of coverage on the internet regarding the ICE protest held in Hartford earlier this week.

CT News Junkie:
Hartford community groups braved the cold Monday to protest the November Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in which 21 alleged illegal immigrants from the city’s Brazilian community were arrested.

But at least one prominent member of the Brazilian community launched her own anti-protest as she march alongside the more than 50 protestors calling for an end to the ICE raids. Ester Sanches-Naek, president of the Shaheen Brazilian Community Center said, “The ICE was doing their job.” Draped in a Brazilian flag, Sanches-Naek held a sign thanking the Hartford Police for not taking away Brazilian woman and children.

The 21 alleged illegal Brazilian immigrants were arrested by Hartford police and federal immigration agents, who are working together to find a Brazilian-born man wanted on charges of attempted murder and robbery.


As the rally was wrapping up, Sanches-Naek asked for the microphone but was denied an opportunity to convey her message to the crowd there to protest the immigration raids.

Councilman-elect Luis Cotto, who joined Monday’s protest, said Sanches-Naek wants to go back to the way things were before the raids, but that’s not going to happen. He said Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts said it’s possible that more immigrants here illegally may be arrested during the course of the ongoing investigation of an attempted murder, which has local police cooperating with ICE officials.


Labor representatives were among the speakers at the rally.

“We are a force to be reckoned with,” Rochelle Palache of SEIU told the crowd outside the federal building following a four-block march down Main Street. “We’re not here to steal jobs. We’re here to make a difference.”

Other speakers spoke about a new atmosphere of hostility toward Latino immigrants that has been created by the raids.

“I want to live in a city where people don’t live in fear,” Mayra Esquilin, president of Hartford Areas Rally Together, said.

Hartford Courant:
Immigration activists were galvanized last month when 21 people suspected of being illegal immigrants from Brazil were arrested in Hartford's Parkville neighborhood by city police and federal immigration agents.

On Monday, the activists took to the streets.

They marched from South Green Park at Main and Park streets to the federal building at 450 Main St., demanding that the raids be stopped and that the city show more support for immigrants, regardless of their status.

Mayra Esquilin, president of Hartford Areas Rally Together, told about 150 people who gathered outside the federal building Monday night that immigration raids are "devastating to our community and our families."

Police have said they asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to assist in an investigation of a shooting on South Whitney Street on Oct in which a Brazilian-born man was being sought on attempted murder and robbery charges. In the process, ICE picked up 21 people suspected of being in the country illegally.

Most have since been released on bond and the suspect, Moises Coutinho, is still at large. Coutinho, 23, is accused of shooting a man in the neck in a small Brazilian restaurant on South Whitney Street on Oct. 2. The victim has since been released from a hospital.

The arrests caused alarm in Parkville's emerging Brazilian community.

A coalition of immigration, religious, student and labor groups have been meeting since the raids to develop a response, including trying to mount political pressure on the city to develop clear policies for how the police should interact with immigrants.

Luis Cotto and Larry Deutsch, elected to the city council in November as members of the Working Families Party, both attended Monday's march and said they would push for policies that limit when police can inquire about immigration status.

Cotto said immigration status should not matter to the city, whether it's the health department or police department. He said the city government has more important things to focus on than enforcing what he calleda broken federal system.

"We're not supposed to be doing their work for them, not on our time and our dime," Cotto said.

Stop the Raids blog:
150 Immigrants Rights Supporters Marched in Hartford, In front of the ICE Headquarters this week, and what an amazing site it was. Far from the myth that the Stop the Raids movement is dead here in CT, this march proved that people from many different groups, and from all regions in CT detest the ICE Raids which are terrifying workers, and ripping apart latino families, nation wide.

While the Anti Immigrant groups such as FAIR, and NUMBERS USA would like you to believe that the Immigrants Rights Movement is a dying movement, and that they have indeed one the battle, I believe that this video footage from FOX 61 proves that there are still those who will continue to march, continue to speak out, and continue to stand up to the face of the Xenophobic Madness which is currently fueling these policies which are threaghtening our communities.

NUMBERS USA folks, as is par for the course with Hate Groups, continually bakes lies and misinformation, to make it seem as if their opinion, opinions based deeply in hatred, are the opinions of the majority of Americans. But, when one stacks their numbers at their own demonstrations, with the numbers of those who march in the streets at every pro immigrant rights activity, one clearly sees this as just another lie.