Baltimore protest against ICE raids

July 11, 2008

BALTIMORE--Immigration rights activists held a spirited rally July 1 to protest the previous day's ICE raid in which 45 workers from Latin America and Africa were arrested and detained.

The ICE operation targeting workers at an Annapolis painting company included a raid at the firm's headquarters and at 10 houses owned by the company where workers live. Speakers at the rally told of workers being woken up in the night and arrested in their underwear or pulled out of showers and dragged away in front of their terrified children.

In one family where only the father was home to care for an 18-month-old boy, ICE agents gave the child to a neighbor without the father's permission or evidence of this being a safe arrangement.

The rally also focused on the racist policies of Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold, who has declared war on immigrants through policies that target them and cuts to social programs for Spanish-speaking residents. Speakers pointed out the contradictions between the upcoming July 4 celebrations, supposedly about freedom, and the denial of constitutional protections for these most vulnerable members of our society.

At the rally, workers held signs saying, "Painting houses is not a crime"; chanted "Stop the Raids! Alto a las redadas!"; and vowed to keep up the pressure on both ICE and the politicians and businessmen who scapegoat and exploit immigrants for their own gain.

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