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Vol. 72/No. 21      May 26, 2008

Virginia picket demands:
‘Stop immigration raids!’
(feature article)
RICHMOND, Virginia—Chanting “No justice! No peace! Freedom for the 33!,” more than 50 people picketed the construction site of a new federal courthouse here May 9 to denounce a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents two days earlier. The protesters, holding a large banner that read “stop the raids on our families” in English and Spanish, received honks of support from some passing drivers in rush hour traffic.

The protest was called by the Virginia Immigrant People’s Coalition and included participation by students from nearby Virginia Commonwealth University.

The raid was the third to take place in Virginia in the past two months. Fifty-nine workers were arrested at a resort hotel in Leesburg on April 8, and 43 at a construction site in Manassas in March. In the Richmond raid, 29 men and 4 women from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru were arrested for immigration violations.

A worker originally from Honduras, who asked that his name not be printed, said that his brother had been arrested in the raid. “I haven’t heard anything from him since,” he said. “They completely surrounded the site and people started running. They said they were looking for three workers charged with crimes, but instead they made everyone go meet on the second floor and they started arresting people. A U.S. worker helped some of us climb into the ceiling. We stayed in the air vents all day long until they were gone.”

Most of those arrested are being detained in jails in Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach, according to Aaron Samsel of the Virginia Immigrant People’s Coalition.
Related articles:
Iowa: protests meet ICE arrest of 390
Immigrants protest harassment in Seattle area on Cinco de Mayo
Chinese, Vietnamese immigrant workers pack Boston hearing to defend bilingual ballots  
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