Thursday, May 15, 2008

Immigration raids in my home state

First off: pop quiz.
What percent of the world's immigrant population is in the united states?
Fifteen? Seven? Five?

Less than one percent.

Solidarity Statement Concerning Guatemalans in Detention after ICE Raid in
Postville, Iowa

May 14, 2008
The following can be attributed to: amalia anderson, Carlos Ariel, Axel Fuentes, Reginaldo Haslett Marroquín, and Ana Nájera Mendoza,

"No one should be subjected to arbitrary arrests, detention or exile".
Article 9, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“ Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.”
Article 9, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

As Guatemalans (by birth and by family origin) living in the United States we strongly condemn the Postville, Iowa raid--the largest single-site enforcement operation of its kind in the history of the United States. Of the 390 workers reportedly detained, nearly three hundred are from Guatemala.
According to statistics from the United Nations, over 125 million people throughout the world live and work outside their countries of origin. Human migration is a global phenomenon fueled by war, persecution, economic and social inequality, environmental disaster, and poverty. International migration will continue until the underlying causes forcing people from their homelands are eliminated. As Guatemalans, we are too familiar with Human Rights violations and their lasting effects. During our country’s 36-year long civil war: 200,000 people were killed or disappeared and as many as 1.5 million people were displaced internally or forced to flee the country. U.S. funding and training underwrote the war – leaving the country in shambles and forcing many to leave. Those of us able to publicly sign this letter and our brothers and sisters sitting now in detention centers and unable to sign this letter, came to this country fleeing the effects of the U.S. funded, civil war. As over three hundred Guatemalans now sit in detention in Iowa, we ask you to grieve with us and protest the obvious irony.
According to the U.S. Constitution, all people residing in the United States, regardless of their immigration status, are entitled to due process of law. The United States is committed to principles of democracy and fairness, yet hundreds of people are detained--frequently without access to counsel and without contact from their families. Many are terrified at the possibility of being returned to a home they may no longer know, or where they will be unable to earn a living wage. In the case of Guatemala, we mustn’t forget the additional challenges of returning to a country devastated by decades of civil war. The U.S. policy of detaining and deporting people does not address these realities.
The recent Postville Raids raises questions about the continued role the United States government plays in the lives of Guatemalans. Unlike the war years, however, we now have the opportunity to ensure that core U.S. values of democracy and fairness prevail! On behalf of our brothers and sisters in detention—we call for transparent, fair and humane treatment in accordance with our U.S. constitutional norms of due process and equal protection. We believe that all human beings in this country have a right to be treated with dignity and respect, even in situations of detention and arrest. Though nothing can undo the destruction caused by the civil war in Guatemala, we are currently presented with an opportunity to stand up and not allow the legacy of our government’s past to continue in the present and the future. Fellow Guatemalans, join us!

For more information, or to add your name please contact:
Regi Marroquín:
amalia anderson:

from the dsm register
Concern rises over welfare of detainees' children
Postville, Ia. – Children of detainees might not be cared for if the detainees were afraid to tell immigration officials that they have children, said Sister Mary McCauley of St. Bridget’s Catholic Church.McCauley said she’s concerned that those who were detained after the Monday morning raid at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant were afraid their children would be arrested.

“Some could still be in an apartment, maybe with an aunt or older brother or sister,” McCauley said. “How would they get food if they’re afraid to go outside?”McCauley said her concerns were echoed by many inside the church, where illegal immigrants have gathered since after the raid, seeking sanctuary. “How do we get into the houses to find out when they’re afraid to open the door?” McCauley said. Trevor Seibert, who owns 20 apartments in Postville that he said are mostly rented by Hispanics, said he went door-to-door on Monday to check if any children were left unsupervised. He found all children with an adult, but now fears that many apartments are left unoccupied by Agriprocessors workers who fled Postville after the raid. Seibert owns a Laundromat, café, a construction company, the rental units and said he has about $2 million in loans. “If the bank didn’t work with me and the plant doesn’t stay open, I stand to lose everything,” Seibert said. “That said, I’m lucky the bank is working with me. I hate to say it, but do they have a choice?“Do they want to own millions of dollars worth of real estate in this town? I don’t want to own millions of dollars worth of real estate in this town.”Seibert said he didn’t issue rental applications to his tenants, and each of them was on a month-to-month lease. When he began to rent apartments to tenants who worked at Agriprocessors about 10 years ago, they were young single men, “a little wild for our community.”Since then, he said, there have been more families moving into the area and into his apartments.
“We liked our families,” he said. “Those were our friends and neighbors. You didn’t come into town and roust out a bunch of illegal immigrants. You came into town and rousted out our neighbors, our friends.”“I don’t feel safer today than before.”

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