Text version of the Militant, a socialist newspaper  
the Militant, a socialist newspaper
about this site directory of local distributors how to subscribe submit a photo or image order bundles of the Militant to sell
news articles editorials columns contact us search view back issues
The Militant this week
El Militante
‘They can’t deport us all!’
Ohio workers protest immigration sweep
Congress OKs $100 billion for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan; Bush signs bill
Workers in Georgia town respond to raid by ‘la migra’
Immigrant worker killed by N.Y. cop
Hundreds in Bronx demand officer be jailed
U.S. gov’t tightens sanctions on Sudan
U.S. mine agency won’t cite bosses for ‘root causes’ of Sago disaster
Over 2,600 new ‘Militant’ readers!
Alabama civil rights case reopened after 42 years
Record of Militant Fightning Fund
Click here for the record

A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 71/No. 23      June 11, 2007


Click here for Militant Labor Forums or for Calendar Events

(lead article)
‘They can’t deport us all!’
Ohio workers protest immigration sweep
Hola/Mauricio Ortega
More than 300 people marched and rallied May 21 in Painesville, Ohio, to protest the arrests of 24 people in a sweep by immigration cops the previous weekend. Similar raids took place in at least three other states—Colorado, Georgia, and Missouri.

PAINESVILLE, Ohio, May 27—Agents of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided working-class neighborhoods and factories in at least three states last week, provoking protests by immigrant workers and their supporters.

More than 300 people marched from St. Mary’s Catholic Church here May 21 to protest the arrest of 24 people during a sweep by immigration cops the previous weekend.

Holding banners reading, “They can’t deport us all,” and “We come to work and feed our children,” the protesters marched to City Hall. There, relatives of those arrested described abuses by immigration cops and denounced the raids. Some passing motorists honked in support, while others made anti-immigrant comments, reported the Associated Press.

When word got out about the raid dozens of immigrant workers and their families packed St. Mary’s basement in response.

ICE spokespeople said the raid was “targeted enforcement” aimed at individuals with immigration violations and criminal records.

Veronica Dahlberg, director of Hispanas Organizadas de Lake y Ashtabula, said they didn’t just target people with deportation orders.

“They are taking innocent people,” a 27-year-old airplane parts worker in Mentor, Ohio, told the Militant May 27. He asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation by the labor contractor he works for.

Pointing to the lawsuit leather workers in New Bedford, Massachusetts, recently filed against Michael Bianco Inc. for robbing them of overtime pay (see last week’s issue), he said, “They do the same thing where we work.” There are about 500 workers at two plants, working 13-hour days six or seven days a week, and “if you try to leave early, they say you can but we’ll fire you.” The boss fired about 50 employees who didn’t come to work May 21, the day after the Painesville raid, he added.

An estimated 8,000-10,000 immigrants, the majority from Mexico, live in Lake and Ashtabula counties. Most of them work in nurseries in eastern Lake County, where Painesville is located.

“People just come here to work, then all they do is work,” said Sara Sánchez, 65. “You go in very early and get home at 9 p.m. and you’re so tired.”

Teresa Sandoval, 44, a plastics factory worker, expressed a similar view speaking to the Militant outside a store here. She said she agreed with a woman she saw interviewed on TV who said something like, “Back in Mexico they say this is the country of dreams. Yes, it is. But we work so much, we’re always dreaming.”

A number of workers interviewed also expressed opposition to the immigration bill recently introduced in the Senate. “Where will people get the $5,000?” asked Sánchez, referring to the fee immigrants seeking legal status would have to pay under this bill. “We’re poor. We need a solution without having to pay that. I have papers, but I still think legalization is important to fight for. There are many people suffering and many people not going to work out of fear.”

In Butterfield, Missouri, ICE and Social Security Administration agents raided a poultry plant owned by George’s Processing Inc. May 22. They arrested 136 workers who were supposedly undocumented. At least one person was charged with Social Security fraud, and another with falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen to obtain employment, an ICE press release said.

Meanwhile, a vigil was held May 26 in Pueblo, Colorado, to protest the arrests of 20-25 people there by ICE last week.

Róger Calero contributed to this article.
Related articles:
Workers in Georgia town respond to raid by ‘la migra’
Workers in Bay Area stand up to ‘migra’ raids

Printer logo 
Printer-friendly version of this article

Home | Text-version home