Immigration protesters jam downtown L.A. streets; LAPD makes arrests
by Shelby Grad
May 6, 2010 – Traffic in parts of downtown L.A. were jammed because of a demonstration by critics of Arizona’s new law cracking down on illegal immigrants.
The LAPD said some of the protesters were blocking several streets, including Alameda and Commercial streets. KTLA News video showed police making arrests of demonstrators lying in the street.
Traffic at the civic center near L.A. City Hall was backed up.
The protest was outside the federal prison in downtown L.A. “This detention center symbolizes the incarceration and internment of so many immigrants and the separation of families,” according to a statement on a website posted by the protesters.
Officials said the protest could cause traffic problems for several hours and might cause disruption for people trying to drive into the detention facility parking lot.
KTLA News video showed gridlock on some streets as motorists struggled through detours.
Photo: Dozens of people rally Thursday in front of the Federal Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles to protest Arizona’s new immigration law. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times
On March 19, 2010 nearly 200 people packed the Metropolitan Police Oversight Hearing at the DC District Council with “Moratorium Now” stickers and signs that read “Stop the Failed Secure Communities” program. Their questions and testimonies uncovered the truth on a failed program that threatened to erode public trust, hurt community policing efforts, open the door for racial profiling, and overturn the city’s rich history and pro-immigrant policies. Through their strong organizing and advocacy they were able to delay the program’s implementation. This marked a partial victory in their campaign to completely reject the program in their city.
These efforts are the work of a broad coalition that includes labor, civil rights, community, immigrant, domestic violence and faith groups. Some participating groups: DC Jobs with Justice, The Latino Federation, Empower DC, Latino Action Coalition of DC, National Capitol ACLU, Different Avenues, Rights Working Group, DC Latino Caucus, The Latino Association of Mt Pleasant, Mil Mujeres Legal Services, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, CARECEN, DC Trans Coalition, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, National Immigration Project, National Day Laborer Organizing Network and over 100 community and civil rights organizations.
Friday’s hearing you can be watched here: http://oct.dc.gov/services/on_demand_video/channel13/March2010/03_19_10_JUDICI.asx
Fox news report. Begin watching at minute 1:35 to 2:24.
Photos from hearing (Photo credit: Pabitra Benjamin): http://www.flickr.com/photos/triberevolt
Late October, 2009: Fifteen members of Juntos, New Sanctuary Movement and the Philadelphia Storytelling Project, all grassroots community organizations, meet in a community center in South Philadelphia. Most of them or their family members have been arrested by Philadelphia police—almost always for minor offenses which have not resulted in convictions—and turned over to ICE ,where deportation proceedings were begun. Juntos has a list of at least forty-five immigrants who have been caught up in the this web and now face deportation. They are there to tell their stories and demand that the police stop collaborating with ICE. They decide to call themselves the Storytelling Group of South Philadelphia.
In the spring of 2009, Philadelphia began participating in the ICE Secure Communities Program. Philadelphia also allows ICE log-in privileges to PARS, a database maintained by the Philadelphia police, which is a record of everyone with an arrest and/or criminal record within the city. In both cases ICE has easy real-time on-line access to any immigrant who has been arrested, even those who have not been convicted of a crime. When ICE scans the database, they are looking for foreign-looking names and country of origin, and targeting those people to demand evidence of documents of legal residence. Many of the people turned over to ICE never have the opportunity to go to trial for the crime for which they were charged—they have no chance to exonerate themselves. In many cases when they do go to trail, they are found innocent. In either case, they all are now part of the ICE system and face deportation.
The Storytelling Group talks about telling their stories, making them public, creating a collective voice that must be heard by officials who make decisions that destroy their families. They review the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and decide that their stories will be testimonies of abuses of their human rights: denial of due process, racial profiling and discrimination, arbitrary detention and imprisonment, lack of equal protection under the law, fear for their own safety. They discuss the risks of telling their stories, of going public, and decide to use pseudonyms to protect themselves and their families. They make a pact that they will each have complete control of their own story: how it will be used in the public debate, when, and where.
Download the full transcript of Guadalupe’s testimony in PDF format.
April 28, 2010 — The Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo School of Law worked with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) to file a lawsuit demanding records related to the little-known United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) Secure Communities program that further involves local and state police in federal immigration enforcement. The filing also marks the launch of Uncovering the Truth, a weeklong national campaign of coordinated actions and advocacy in more than ten cities to end ICE-police collaboration. For more information, visit cardozo.yu.edu.