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   Vol. 67/No. 35           October 13, 2003  
‘El Español’ covers Calero’s Sydney visit
The following are excerpts of an article that appeared in the September 16 issue of El Español en Australia, a Spanish-language weekly in Sydney, Australia. the article was headlined, “In the movie of life sometimes the good guys win.” The translation is by the Militant.

Róger Calero was arrested in Houston in December 2002, and released 11 days later, even though the deportation process continued. But in a rare event, the fascist immigration apparatus found itself overwhelmed by the pressure of the common people.

Calero was born in Nicaragua. He was 15 years old when his family immigrated to the United States (1985). In 1990 he was granted permanent resident status, which was renewed in 2000.

On December 3, 2002, Róger was detained by immigration agents at his arrival at the Houston airport upon returning from a work-related trip in Guadalajara and Cuba…. They explained to him that under the new immigration law they could deport individuals who had a criminal record, including by applying the law retroactively.

He had been arrested in his high school years for supplying marijuana to an undercover cop. By recommendation of the public defender he declared himself guilty, and he was given a brief suspended sentence.

When he was granted his permanent residency Calero was questioned about his record, and he explained that the conviction had been waived in order to allow him to obtain his residency card.

According to the 1996 Immigration Law, having a criminal record is grounds for deportation, even if the person has already completed his sentence. Among other atrocities, this law also allows for indefinite detentions, and gives powers to local police departments to get involved….

Róger remained in jail for 11 days, until due to the pressure of several social organizations…he was released from prison. After his release, contrary to what his jailers could imagine, Calero and the organizations that supported him stepped up their activities in denouncing [the attack] and demanding justice… and organized a tour in 23 cities in the United States. In that tour the journalist presented his case in front of different audiences and the general public.

The tour accomplished its objective; the support to Calero’s cause was overwhelming. Calero himself lent his support to others in similar situations.

Calero recently carried out a tour in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, and other countries. In his stop in Sydney we had the opportunity to meet him.

Q: What is the real objective of the immigration restrictions in countries that benefit from immigration?

By maintaining an important sector of the population in an illegal status, the capitalists count on having a source of cheap labor without rights to social benefits. It’s like counting on having an underdeveloped country within the borders of a rich country. Undocumented workers are also used as cannon fodder for wars.

Q: To what do you attribute the success of your campaign?

Undoubtedly to the support of social organizations and working people in general. The politicians sooner or later need the people, and that is why when we mobilize around an issue we can make unexpected gains.

The experience by Calero is an example of hope. It shows that in this world of western gunmen (and of the south) who daily step on the rights of others, there is a lot that we who don’t have armies, nor buy governments, nor plant bombs, can still do.
Related articles:
Unionists, youth seek out Calero in Sweden, Iceland  
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