Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

On Aug. 8, Centro Presente, an immigrant organization in Boston put out the following press release:

Communities of faith and community organizations publicly denounce operations recently conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Somerville, MA – In recent days the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has conducted operations in various cities in the greater Boston area. This situation has caused anguish and uncertainty in immigrant families. “We strongly reject the presence of ICE in our communities. We denounce their tactics which we find to be militaristic, intimidating and discriminatory. We believe in and reaffirm the concept of democracy, and for this reason we make use of our legitimate right to speak up and demand respect for the human dignity of the immigrant community. A profound change in the immigration policy of the United States is urgently needed; a legal overhaul that reflects the true principles of liberty and democracy under which this country was founded,” declared Maria Elena Letona, Executive Director of Centro Presente and member of the Executive Committee of The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC)…

In recent months, thousands of immigrants have been deported following ICE factory raids occurring with greater frequency across the United States. The largest raid in Massachusetts occurred in March 2007 in New Bedford when an army of 300 federal immigration agents raided a leather factory and arrested 350 Guatemalan and Salvadoran workers. Federal agents stormed the building and helicopters circled above the factory alerting the agents of escape routes when terrified workers tried to flee. (more…)

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“There used to be one bus a day leaving this area (Esquintla, Chiapas) heading north. Now, four buses a day go to the border…. And each is packed with our young boys. Today, with the conditions the way they are, youth have become our biggest export.” -Miguel Angel Barrios Bravo, president of a coffee co-operative affiliated with FIECH, the Indigenous Ecological Federation of Chiapas, one of Equal Exchange’s trading partners.

“You can build the Berlin Wall. You can build the China Wall. The U.S. can build a wall any size it wants. But they will never be able to stem the migration north as long as farmers are hungry and have no way to support their families.” -Gabriela Soriano, CIEPAC, the Center for Economic & Political Research for Community Action.

In January, I took a group of Equal Exchange staff to visit our trading partners in Chiapas. We also met with local organizations in San Cristobal to learn about the current political and economic realities of the region. Our first meeting was with CIEPAC, a very active organization devoted to research, analysis, education and action. We have been very impressed with CIEPAC’s work and last year Equal Exchange was able to facilitate a portion of our profits to support their educational programs. Unfortunately, others find their work with indigenous farmers threatening; CIEPAC’s offices have been raided on numerous occasions and individual staff members have received multiple death threats. 


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