They came to Hartford Thursday morning to show their support for the undocumented workers arrested in New Haven last week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
An estimated 15 of the 30 undocumented workers swept up in the raids were expected to be arraigned in Hartford Thursday. Their attorneys, law students from Yale and the University of Connecticut, are expected to ask the judge to lower their bonds and grant a continuance in the case. Click here for Melinda’s report on what happened in court.
Meanwhile, protestors from Danbury, Springfield, Mass., Long Island, New Haven, and Hartford felt the only way to fight back against the country’s immigration policy was to take it to the streets. Where they chanted things like “Amnesty Now!,” “Immigrant rights are under attack. What do we do? Fight Back,” and “The people united, will never be divided.”
A government official Tuesday announced a suspension of raids in the New Haven area. The official, Bruce Chadbourne, field office director of New England Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, told the Associated Press in this article he was “temporarily” calling off raids here.
Joel Rodriguez from Springfield, Mass., said at the end of May three immigrants from his community were deported. He said as he interviewed the wives of the men deported one of the son’s asked him, “What are you going to do for my dad?”
Rodriguez was brought to tears as he recalled having to tell this 8-year-old boy “I could not do anything for him.” The boy then told Rodriguez they learn in school that America is the ‘Land of the free and the home of the brave,’ and wanted to know if that is true. Rodriguez said he couldn’t even answer that question. Rodriguez said one of the three immigrants swept up in the raid was already back in Mexico by June 11.
Heather Cotton, from Freeport, Long Island said a number of immigrant workers in her community had been swept up in similar raids at a local Home Depot where they gathered to get work.
Beth Dyer from Danbury said when undocumented workers were swept up in her community last summer the only way they were able to fight back was protest and hold community forums on the issue.
For the most part, Dyer, Rodriguez and Cotton, said in their communities immigrants are rounded up in ones and twos, which makes the New Haven raid so unusual.
Charles Fuentes, from Stop the Raids, said they wanted to bring more visibility to the issue by organizing the protest Thursday outside federal court in Hartford. He said they also wanted to show the immigrants being arraigned that “they’re not alone.” He said when two undocumented workers in Hartford were taken by ICE a few months ago their emergency protest in the same location outside the courthouse was successful and the workers were released shortly after.