Saturday, December 29, 2007

287g VOTE 1/3!

The Day is fast approaching. The January Common Council meeting has been set for 1/3 at 7:30pm at City Hall in Danbury. The most newsworthy point on this months agenda is the proposed institution of the 287g ICE ACCESS program. Insiders are fairly sure that this measure will be adopted, carte blanche, and unanimously by the common council. For those of you not familiar, the 287g ICE ACCESS program would enable local police to train with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and set forth a partnership where the specific officers who are trained would then be under the direction of, and subject to the FEDERAL jurisdiction of ICE. It would enable them to conduct investigations of suspected criminal aliens, and those facing final deportation orders. It would allow them to conduct raids, and to arrest and detain undocumented individuals who are part of the ICE jurisdiction.

Several serious questions must be raised about this process, which the Common Council at this point does not seem to be raising.

1. How will the program be paid for? Federal government only reimburses a certain percentage of the costs incurred by this program. It does NOT pay for things such as travel and lodging expenses, or food for the agents during the training. Further, once they finish training, the public has not been advised as to which charges will be covered by federal budget. As in, how will these investigations be paid for? Surveillance? Housing of those arrested and detained? WHERE will they be housed and detained? The current police department does not appear to have ample enough space in their jails to house a large increase in arrestees.

2. While the already short staffed police force in Danbury perform these new duties, there will be at least 2 officers who will now be devoted to other duties, specifically those pertaining to issues of immigration. So, that means there will be 2 less officers on the beat to deal with the concerns of the average American resident, and the public safety issues in general. First of all, doesn't the Police already have the authority to arrest and detain anyone suspected of criminal wrong doing? Why do they need a partnership with ICE to allow this? Secondly, with two less officers on the beat handling general crime, will other police officers be asked to put in overtime hours, and how much will that cause the average danbury tax payer?

3. A partnership with ICE can only cause problems in trust between local police, and our Immigrant Community. One of the most obvious examples of how the Immigrant community could suffer as a result of this program, is domestic abuse cases. Imagine you are a woman, undocumented, who is being abused, by a spouse or boyfriend. To even reach out and call the police, for even an American Citizen in such a situation is hard enough. Domestic Abuse victims and survivors suffer years of mistrust and "shell shock" and feelings of isolation from their abusive relationships. In this situation, often, reaching out and telling people what you are suffering can be hard enough to do, imagine then, how much more difficult it would be to report such a crime if you were simultaneously terrified of being arrested and deported yourself due to your lack of documents? Imagine how easy it would be for an abuser to use this tool to further terrify the abused "I'll call the cops on you, and they'll see you don't have documents. So shut up and do what I tell you...". etc. A slippery slope indeed.

4. Members of the Immigrant Community have already privately pointed to situations in which they believe that they were discriminated against, and were victims of racial profiling and harassment due to their culture. Being that this sort of partnership with ICE has the potential to be abused, and to create a situation where frequent racial profiling is used as a tool to catch and deport "criminal aliens" how many of our Legal Hispanic and Latino residents could possibly be wrongfully detained, and harrassed even by our local police? Is there an assurance that common council can give us that this will NOT happen? Have they studied the program deeply enough to know?

These are just some of the questions that need to be raised by people at the Common Council meeting 1/3. The simple fact is, that even for those who may not be on the side of Immigrants, there are enough reasons to halt this process and ask that our common council take it to further study before accepting it. This is not a decision to enter into lightly, lest we expose ourselves to strains on our municipal police, on the taxpayers wallets, lest we expose ourselves to lawsuits incurred by civil rights violations, and less we further marginalize members of our immigrant community (legal, as well as undocumented).

We at Stop the Raids urge you to come down to the City Hall and make your arguments that day, and say loud and clear to the common council "Don't pass the 287g program today!" and preferably, don't pass it, ever.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Huckabee and Dobbs, trained at the same school?

One begins to wonder if all GOP candidates are studying at the same school as Lou Dobbs.

Recently, Keith Olberman made a very interesting argument pointing out the Mitt Romney-esque hypocrisy of Lou Dobbs, the rabid anti immigrant television news personality. Apparently, while railing against undocumented immigrants publically, Dobbs' financially supports the equestrian aspirations of his two daughters, who are showjumping enthusiasts. The competitive equestrian industry employs thousands of undocumented immigrants annually.

Meanwhile, in a very "six degrees of separation" moment, Lou Dobbs not only rails against Undocumented Immigrants, he also has a tendency to blatantly lie, and often twist facts, such as this episode where he cites a massive rise in cases of leprosy in the US, which he attributes to illegal immigration. Of course, there is one small problem. There was no huge rise in cases of leprosy.

That sounds rather familiar...hmm. Who else is now spinning false statistics?'s GOP Candidate Mike Huckabee! Yes, Mike Huckabee, that bastian of republican values, and the hardline candidate on Illegal Immigration. What does Huckabee have to say about Illegal Immigrants? Well, he seems to believe that the largest percentage of Undocumented Immigrants in the US, except for those who come from South of the Mexican Border, are from...Pakistan! Could that be right? Apparently Not. But maybe he got that gem from Lou Dobbs.

I'm sure that every anti immigrant in Danbury was frothing at the mouth when they heard that news, though. Maybe for a minute, they stopped picking on the Latino and Hispanic Immigrants and turned their ire, quite mistakenly, toward the currently Mourning, and Worried Pakistani Immigrant population.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Businesses hurt by new Immigration Laws.

Small business owners, especially those in the construction and other labor sectors are feeling the crunch due to the changing local immigration laws. Business owners say that it is nearly impossible to operate under the strict and harsh immigration laws rising up in individual cities across America, and they are increasingly urging our government to seek comprehensive immigration reform.

Local communities will start feeling the pinch even more in the coming months, as not only is our economy negatively impacted by the loss of workers, but also, as we begin to see more and more immigrants "Self-Deport" as a result of the hostile environments they find in many cities who have chosen to take the matter of immigration reform into their own hands and enact strict anti immigrant policies and laws.

Meanwhile, Legal Hispanic Residents and Citizens are also begining to feel the burn of these harsh anti immigrant laws, feeling that they are being caught in the middle of this battle, and subjected to rising cases of discrimination, hate crimes, and racial profiling per the lastest Pew Hispanic Studies.

The voice crying out for federal level Comprehensive Immigration Reform continues to grow, while anti immigrant and anti latino groups focus narrowly on an enforcement only policy of "Secure the Borders", which has since been picked up as a catch phrase in the 2008 Presidential Debates by both political parties.

While the governments of local municipalities continue to take matters into their own hands, and the federal government refuses to act humanely and find some way toward amnesty or a path to citizenship, the line in the sand between those who value the many contributions of our immigrant population, and those who are apparently hellbent on "Purifying" America.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

They are Human Beings.

As we see individual communities sign on to programs like 287g ACCESS, and as we see communities such as Prince Williams County in Virginia enact very harsh anti immigrant laws, and as the cry from the Nativist Movement grows louder, and more hateful with each breath crying for Mass Deportations..there is one thing that is being forgotten.

These are Human Beings.

Unfortunately, the Nativist Bigots such as those in FAIR, NumbersUSA, The Minutemen, and other numerous hategroups will never tell you what actually happens in an ICE raid. And there will never be a camera recording the way ICE rushes into a home, in paramilitary style, terrorizing the homes occupants. There will never be a camera rolling inside a deportation center, showing you the abuses that occur there, or the children poking out from behind bars as they await deportation with their undocumented parents. And it is that very lack of actual footage that keeps people blinded to the human rights crisis we find ourselves in in this climate of hatred, discrimination, raids, and deportations.

These are human beings. They are not "Aliens". Nor are they Cattle. They are not Slaves. And the vast and overwhelming majority of them are not criminals. They are human beings. Human beings who are working the jobs that many of us would never take. For the wages we would never accept, in conditions we would never tolerate. They are Human beings who have families, that they are struggling to keep united, and provided for. They are Human beings, who are being woefully abused by this system. Both as they work in our factories in horrible conditions, subjected to many work place abuses and violations, and by our own justice system.

On March 6, 2007, ICE conducted a very large scale raid on a leather factory in New Bedford, Massachusettes. Here is one womans tale, one HUMAN BEINGS tale of how she was treated.

Here's another testimony by a woman who was detained in an ICE raid in Illinois.

And this little girl, brings us the often unseen side. The effect of these raids on the children they leave behind.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tereza Pereira, Danbury 11 days in Court.

Teresa Pereira, and the 9 remaining of the Danbury 11 are coming up upon their court trials. These dates, in particular, are their most important court hearings to date, and could possibly be the final trial for those involved.

Pereira, a Brazilian Immigrant who has been here for almost 20 years, and a mother of two American Citizen Children, faces deportation orders for having been here on an expired Visa. However, Pereira had been seeking legal help in regularizing her status, and through many mistakes made by the lawyer presenting her at that time, was not aware that she had fallen out of status. She is currently fighting deportation, on grounds that her American Born Sons would face immense hardship if they were to follow her back to Brazil.

For a brief "refresher" on the case of Teresa Pereira, see this video. (Thanks CT Blogger!).

For a Refresher on the Danbury 11 case, and why this is such a ground breaking case for Danbury, please check in the archives of Hat City Blog.

Arizona : Test Case on Immigration.

The State of Arizona has the eyes of the nation focused upon it this week, as it announces some of the harshest laws penalizing employers who hire Undocumented Immigrants.

Under the new law, which goes into effect in early January, employers who hire undocumented immigrants would face a two strike law. On the first strike, they would face suspension of their business liscense. On the second strike, they would lose their liscense entirely.

This announcement has sparked major controversy within the state, and has civil rights advocates, and business owners seeking emergency injuctions in court, to bar this law from being implemented.

Arizona is becoming a test case in the national debate over immigration, as it will be the first state to enact such harsh legislation. Advocates say that these penalites are already resulting in a mass exodus of Immigrants from Arizona, into other bordering states.

The resulting economic chaos, and structural chaos this will create both within Arizona and in neighboring states, will quite possibly have a huge impact on the future debate of the Immigration Issue. Perhaps the screenwriters of the film "A Day Without a Mexican" should make a new film, this one staged in Arizona.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What do Americans really think on Immigration?

Over and over again, like a sad, and broken refrain, I hear the same message from the mouths of the most rabid anti-immigrant bigots. The sad chorus of "Most American Citizens want these illegals gone". But is that at all based in fact? Schewed studies have indeed noted that Immigration is a concern for the American Voter. However, just how much of a concern is an issue which is hotly debated. Many people place the Immigration Issue behind Health Care, Fiscal Concerns, The War in Iraq, and other issues.

Further, as this report on points out, the true opinion of what MOST American Voters believe should be done in response to the Immigration Issue appears to be quite different than the "DEPORT THEM!" crowd would want you to believe.

According to this report on Angus-Reid, with statistics gleaned from polls conducted by the New York Times, and CBS news:

38% of American Citizens Polled, believe that Immigrant workers should be allowed to stay in their jobs, and eventually apply for US Citizenship.

28% Believe that Immigrant workers should be allowed to reenter under temporary guest worker status, but not be eligible for citizenship.

28% Believe that Immigrant workers should be forced to leave (be deported).

6% Say they are not sure.

While it is clear that this means that there is far from an overwhelming concensus on the issue, the majority clearly does not want to see all Undocumented Workers rounded up and deported, as the old refrain goes.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Prince William County, Virginia, Is this the Future of Danbury?

As Danbury continues to wait with baited breath, the next step in the debate over the Local Government's proposed enaction of the 287g ICE ACCESS program, other communities across this country have already begun to enact even more strict, and harmful laws and codes to harrass, intimidate, and drive out Immigrants from their towns.

Take for instance, bucolic Prince William County, Virginia. Where they "Treasure the Past, and the Promise of our Future" by encouraging county agencies to look for ways to deny county services to people of undocumented, or unverifiable citezenship status. Now, let's be clear here. PWC Virginia did pass this legislation. And it is some of the harshest anti immigrant legislation to date. Including provisions that police are allowed to check immigration status on the most minor of offenses (as in..littering or jaywalking), and that authorities are also welcome to check for documents before allowing access to services such as, oh.. parks, public libraries, pools, HOUSING ASSISTANCE, DRUG REHAB, SENIOR SERVICES.

Meanwhile, Mayor Mark Boughton, announced today in his State of the City address, his plan to create a special "Downtown Taskforce" with the aim of addressing challenges to the atmosphere of downtown danbury (i.e blight, etc), and also to make it mandatory for those seeking shelter at the city's New Street Shelter commit to either performing community service, or enrolling in a program where they can "better themselves". Interesting, isn't it? Now, call me a conspiracy theorist. But, just on the threshold of the city deciding whether or not to enact the 287g ICE ACCESS program here in Danbury, a program which would allow local police to conduct federal ICE duties, we also see this new policy about homeless shelters. One can conceivably imagine that in order to obtain services such as drug abuse programs, or other, that perhaps one might need to have some sort of document. It would be interesting to see whether the board of supervisors in Prince William County are counted amongst the ranks of the Mayors and County Executives for Immigration Reform, which is Mayor Mark Boughton's very own anti-immigrant hate group, only, they keep their white robes tucked in their brooks brothers suits. (By the way, Mark, you really should step beyond that oh so clinical stock photography you have on the homepage.)

The good news in all of this? Today, the U.S Commission on Civil Rights has finally come forth and announced they will be investigating these laws, and how they have been carried out thus far, to answer to claims of possible discrimination and civil rights violations since their implementation, and the people of Prince William County have been actively fighting back with protests.

Since the case of the Danbury 11 brought the idea of Civil Rights Violations by Local Law Enforcement to the forefront months ago, here in Danbury, this will be a very important case for Mayor Boughton, and his anti immigrant cronies to keep an eye on, in the coming months. Let us hope that the 287g laws are not enacted here, and that the realization that every move he makes against the immigrant community here in Danbury will be noted, and watched, and reported, makes Mayor Mark Boughton a little less trigger happy with his anti immigrant legislative dreams.

Warning-STRONG LANGUAGE (Strong Point).

While I usually do not frequent sites having any tags related to Goth, Emo, or other distressed lifestyles, this blog entry from a blogger called "Suicide Girlz" came across in my Google News Alerts today, and provided a much needed tone of sanity to the immigration debate, despite the "insanity" of the Blog's Title. I would caution you that the language used on this site, and in the post, is rather harsh, and indeed, vulgarity laced, but the point is well worth the read. Scrape off the rough layers of anger, and look at the quotes, keeping in mind as you do so the so-called "Staggering" 4 million dollar in one quarter "medical bill" attributed to "Illegal Immigrants" purportedly "leaked" by an insider at the hospital to WTNH news in CT.

Studies are continually showing that Undocumented Immigrants pay far more into our system in taxes, than they ever wind up utilizing in way of Health Benefits, or any other benefit.

So, in light of what the statistics, and experts say, regarding the "Staggering" costs of Immigrants to our healthcare system, and how very underwhelming those costs are, especially in comparison with the amount of financial (tax) wealth immigrants pour into our system year by year, this, (amongst many other reasons) poses a serious question about the legitimacy of the so-called "Official Record" from the Danbury Hospital, in general.

As a side note, having been thrown under the bus by a severe case of Pneumonia, complicated by atsma, last week, I wound up in the Emergency room at Danbury Hospital twice. And found myself searching the emergency room for even one Immigrant family or patient. I found not one.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Washington Post on the Nativist Agenda in the Immigration Debate.

Interesting article I have found on the NDN Blog regarding the political frenzy which has been whipped up regarding Immigration in this years campaign season. Newest studies from the Pew Hispanic Center, and statistics from the FBI Hatecrimes Database are showing that the number of hatecrimes and instances of other hate-fueled discriminations, have grown exponentially in the last year, as a result of a virulently anti immigrant atmosphere, which is propelled further by the GOP, who see the lives of our Immigrant Neighbors as a toy they can play with, (Judging from their rhetoric thus far) in order to garner votes from a conservative republican populace. Meanwhile, simultaneously, Democrats are appearing to avoid the topic of immigration reform at all cost, and waffle continuously.

While Congress has failed to pass any meaningful immigration reform, all talk of future resolution seems to almost exclude any compassionate/logical path to legalization, or amnesty for those immigrants here now, and concentrate almost entirely on enforcement only measures, which appeal to a anti immigrant agenda, while Immigrant Lives, and Civil Liberties, and Basic Human Compassion, have come under increasing attack in our nation.

It is time that America started looking very closely at this issue, it is time for people to wake up, and take a very close look at the true statistics in this debate, and stopped listening to rhetoric and false information circulated by the Numbers USA, FAIR hategroups, and asked themselves some serious questions.

1. Who are being effected by the anti immigrant climate in the US? Undocumented Immigrants only? Statistics prove otherwise.

2. In a political climate in which our possible participation in Torture (i.e Waterboarding) is such a hot topic, how can we simultaneously decry torture as a human rights violation, and approve of enforcement only techniques to the immigration debate which would tear families apart, put them in deportation centers (prisons), strip away their access to emergency medical care, and housing, leaving many Immigrants in increasingly destitute, hopeless, and untenable conditions? This "Smoke em out" mentality is, make no mistake, just another form of torture, and yet another form of human rights violations.

3. Who are the groups/individuals driving this current anti immigrant/xenophobic (and racist) agenda? Groups like Numbers USA, and FAIR who have been founded by blatant racists with ties to Neo Nazi Groups (See this wonderful article at Hat City Blog)

4. With these being the case, how can we continue to turn our eyes away from this subject, or allow our leaders to do so? Time to turn up the heat, people. For more information on how to become involved, please contact us and we will add you to our mailing list for all upcoming Stop the Raids events.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

150 Immigrants Rights Supporters March in Hartford!

150 Immigrants Rights Supporters Marched in Hartford, In front of the ICE Headquarters this week, and what an amazing site it was. Far from the myth that the Stop the Raids movement is dead here in CT, this march proved that people from many different groups, and from all regions in CT detest the ICE Raids which are terrifying workers, and ripping apart latino families, nation wide.

While the Anti Immigrant groups such as FAIR, and NUMBERS USA would like you to believe that the Immigrants Rights Movement is a dying movement, and that they have indeed one the battle, I believe that this video footage from FOX 61 proves that there are still those who will continue to march, continue to speak out, and continue to stand up to the face of the Xenophobic Madness which is currently fueling these policies which are threaghtening our communities.

NUMBERS USA folks, as is par for the course with Hate Groups, continually bakes lies and misinformation, to make it seem as if their opinion, opinions based deeply in hatred, are the opinions of the majority of Americans. But, when one stacks their numbers at their own demonstrations, with the numbers of those who march in the streets at every pro immigrant rights activity, one clearly sees this as just another lie.

The people are still speaking. The people are still marching. STOP THE RAIDS!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Numbers USA and FAIR created by white Supremacists?

Well, looks like one only needs to follow the trail a little bit, to find the very prevalent roots of groups such as F.A.I.R and NUMBERS USA in the White Supremacist Movement. As if we ever had any doubt.

Those who read and participate in such groups are usually the ones hanging out on the Danbury News Times Live messageboard linked to Topix, and can also be found hanging out at the American Legion on Wednesday Nights here in good old Danbury (*Cough* CTCIC, USCFILE). And are masters of quoting the supposed "Facts" of the immigration issue. Having had runins with members of these groups, and who are rabid fans of FAIR and of NUMBERS USA, I have to say that it doesn't surprise me that they are circulating erroneous information, or even that they have links to White Supremacy Groups.


The mothership of hate is U.S., Inc., an organization created by Tanton that simultaneously funds lobbyists, researchers and media who promote racist views while accepting funding from eugenics, neo-Nazis and wealthy ultraconservatives with a penchant for white supremacy. A former ophthalmologist, Tanton, to borrow a Biblical reference, appears to have a log in his own eye regarding immigrants, especially brown-colored ones.

Tanton made his mark in the 1970s when he chaired the Sierra Club’s National Population Committee, among other leadership positions in mainstream environmental and family planning causes. When his colleagues rejected his extreme ideas, he took a hard right turn toward unabashed anti-immigration with a virulently racist tone.

Chief among the groups Tanton has founded or funded are: NumbersUSA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). All of them are regularly cited in media accounts as valid sources of information on immigration.

Point to this post is, as usual, Don't believe the hype. Not one word that these hate groups circulate, anyway.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stop the Raids and Allies Defend Danbury 11, and condemn No-Match Letters.

Stop the Raids, Trinity Students, AFL-CIO, ACLU, amongst other organizations, were in Hartford yesterday announcing on-going support for the Danbury 11, including a Parade to be held in Hartford Monday, Oct 15th at 7:00 AM, which will march to the Hartford District Superior Court Building before the Danbury 11's next trial.

Another reason for the press conference was to condemn the SS work place No Match letters which are a current tactic of ICE to conduct raids and deportations.
The link above is from ICE's own website. To read more information on how this program undermines the rights of workers, and why this program is ineffective, and how it is a great cause of concern for it's possibility of abuse, read more here.

Read about the press conference here

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Join the American Civil Liberties Union, AFL-CIO, Stop the Raids! and
many others as we rally to oppose ICE raids and the ‘No-Match’

FRIDAY: Press conference to announce mass mobilization in defense of
the Danbury 11, 12 noon,
Federal Courthouse, 450 Main St., Hartford; Speak-out at Trinity
College at 4 p.m., Cave Patio, Mather Hall

MONDAY: Mass mobilization in solidarity with the Danbury 11 as they
receive a judge's decision on their request for a trial. 8 a.m., Federal
Courthouse, 450 Main St., Hartford.

We have a unique opportunity in Connecticut to challenge the ICE raids
in open court! Don't miss it!
Unity Statement in Opposition to No-Match Letters and ICE Raids

We, the undersigned, hereby endorse the National Day of Action against
the Bush Administration’s No-Match Program and the raids by
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that has been called for Friday,
October 12th by the National Alliance for Immigrant Rights and the March
10th Coalition.

On that day – Friday, October 12th – we will hold a press
conference at noon in front of the federal building in Hartford to call for a
mass mobilization on the following Monday, October 15th at 8 a.m. in
solidarity with the Danbury 11, as they receive the judge’s decision on
their request for a trial. The protest on Monday, like the press
conference on Friday, will take place in front of the federal building in

Also on October 12th, students at Trinity College will hold a speak-out
from 4-5:30 p.m. at Mather Hall/ Cave Patio, 300 Summit St, Hartford.
The speak-out was called by Stop the Raids! Students of Trinity College
to raise support for the Danbury 11 mobilization.

We join with millions of immigrants and allies across the country in
opposing the No-Match Letter Program, which perpetuates a cycle of
discrimination against both immigrant workers and low wage laborers of all
types and is often used as a weapon to target union-organized factories
and workplaces. The ACLU and AFL-CIO have already filed a lawsuit in
response to a government plan to send out no-match letters to millions of
workers, both documented and undocumented.

The trial of the Danbury 11, in effect, puts ICE on trial. The Danbury
11 is a group of Ecuadorian day laborers unconstitutionally arrested in
an illegal sting done as a collaborative effort between the Danbury
police and ICE. The Eleven were moved around the country (some to as far
away as Texas), denied counsel with a lawyer, or contact with their
families. This sets a truly frightening precedent for all U.S. residents,
and we must send a clear message to ICE that respect for both
constitutional and human rights must be observed.

A trial for the Danbury 11 would pose a series of severe legal
questions for ICE:
• Is it legal for ICE to racially profile individuals and arrest them
without a warrant?
• Is it legal for ICE to transport detainees to prisons in Texas for
a civil offense in Connecticut?
• Are the courts permitted to deny bond or right of appeal or right
to appear in court to a person because he or she is suspected of being
• Is it legal for local or state police to enforce federal
immigration law?

A victory here is a victory for workers everywhere. Please support the
rights of all working people and join us for this important occasion.

American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut
Connecticut AFL-CIO
Connecticut Center for a New Economy
Kurt Westby, CT District Chairman, Service Employees International
Union, Local 32BJ
Art Perry, Political Director, Service Employees International Union,
Local 32BJ
Laura Smith, President, Local 34, FUE UNITE HERE
Marie C. Lausch, President, United Electrical Radio & Machine Workers
of America, Local 222
John Woodruff, Vice-President, UE Local 222 – CILU/CIPU, Danbury
Maria-Cinta Lowe, former director, Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury
Jorge Cabrera, New England Regional Council of Carpenters
Rev. Paul J. Murdock, Sagrado Corazon Church, Willimantic
Jorge Múgica, March 10th Coalition, Chicago
STOP THE RAIDS! Students of Trinity College
United Caribbean Club, Central Connecticut State University
Jeff Crosby, President, North Shore Labor Council (Mass.)
Fatima Rojas, Unidad Latina en Acción, New Haven
Mark Rutkowski, Progressive Students Alliance, Central Connecticut
State University
Stephanie Luce, Associate Professor, Labor Center, University of
David Amdur, Connecticut Program Coordinator American Friends Service
Peter Goselin, coordinator, National Lawyers Guild - Connecticut
Marela Zacarias, Latinos Contra La Guerra, Hartford
Jean Hislop, Campaign to Stop the ICE Raids, Danbury
Youth for Socialist Action, Central Connecticut State University
Stacey Zimmerman, Lead Political/Community Organizer, SEIU CT State
Monica Bunton, organizer, UNITE-HERE Local 217, Hartford

Saturday, October 6, 2007

More fall out from ACCESS program in other cities.

While Danbury continues to study the possibility of implementing the 287g ACCESS program here in Danbury, other cities are beginning to see overwhelmingly negative fallout as a result of the program. This article from the Dallas Morning News reports that immigrants in their community are so terrified by the program, that they are withdrawing their children from schools, many of those same children, are even American Citizens. Likewise, immigrants are now deeply mistrustful of local authorities. Even Legal immigrants are terrified of the effects of this program, many even reluctant to drive their cars to work for fear of being pulled over by the police, based on nothing more but the color of their skin. This article illustrates easily the kind of climate that could pervade danbury were such an ordinance implemented.

Protest write up.

The turn out to Tuesday Nights Protest was wonderful, considering the short time in which the protest was planned. Approximately 30-35 people showed up to the actual protest, and an additional 15-20 went directly inside to the Common Council meeting. Approximately 7 people spoke out against the 287g being implemented in Danbury, while around 4 or 5 spoke in favor of it. The number who spoke in favor, were all members and friends of The anti immigrant groups CTCIC and USCFILE. While the 7 who spoke against the proposal included danbury residents from all walks of life. Interfaith community members, people involved in the Immigrants Rights movements, local political candidates, concerned residents.

In conclusion the proposal was sent to corporate council, where it is to be "Studied further", before a vote is cast.

Outside, spontaneous heated debates were struck between activists for the immigrants rights cause, and many of the racist/xenophobic anti immigrant groups over the issue.

For an update on the decision by city council, please read here.

Friday, October 5, 2007

While you wait.

While we continue to work on the write up of the protest in Danbury on Tuesday Evening, this article is a must read for those involved in Immigrants Rights. It describes the effects of the 287g program on one community that had implemented the program in their city. This is NOT a program you want here in Danbury, or elsewhere in the State. Frankly, it's NOT a program that you should want in this country, at all, as this Article, from the NY Times clearly shows.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Update Coming..

We apologize for not updating since the night of the protest. Things have been very busy, but we will be posting the results from the protest very soon. We would like to thank everyone for coming out to Danbury, the press for covering it, and the Danbury residents who spoke and made it quite clear that the 287g has NO place in Danbury.

We'll be back soon, with the full details!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Just a quick update, the Permit for the protest has been obtained, and we are going foward with our legal protest in front of City Hall on Deer Hill Avenue, in Danbury at 7pm. NOTE: We must remain on the South Lawn of City Hall for this protest, as to not block the flow of traffic into the city hall parking lot. City Hall hosts many meetings and functions in the evening, and we must be sure not to hinder people from coming or going. So... See you tonight!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Protest Planned!

Dear Friends and Supporters,

For those of you who do not already know, the City Council in Danbury is meeting this week to discuss whether or not to adopt the segment of the Nationalization and Immigration law called the 287g ACCESS program. If accepted, this program would deputize local police to carry out Federal Immigration duties, including arrests, and raids which would then be carried out into deportations. Immigrants rights supporters in Danbury strenuously oppose this act being implemented, as it would easily create a witchhunt climate here in Danbury which would force the Immigrant Community even further into the shadows, and continue the assault upon Workers, and upon Families of mixed and varied immigration status.

A protest is planned for 10/2 in front of City hall on Deer Hill Avenue in Danbury, at 7:00pm. However, we have reason to be concerned that a recently enacted parade ordinance might interfere with our plan to protest that evening. An ordinance was passed in July that restricts any public gathering to 25 people or less, unless a permit is obtained. While our gathering is intended to be much larger than 25 people, it is a freedom of speech event. That being the case, many of the requirements for the permit do not apply to us (such as liability insurance, a filing fee, etc). However, we can still be denied based on the time constraints we were working under. A Stop the Raids member did apply for a permit on Friday early afternoon, and was told she would receive an answer on Monday. We are currently awaiting that response. If we are denied, and choose to then go foward as planned, we will seek legal council about getting an emergency injunction, and obtain legal observers, however, we could still be subject to fines up to $100.00's, as individuals. And that also means, that certain segments of our community who chose to join us in protest, would be especially at risk. So it is very necessary that you keep an eye on your email, to check for any alerts, or to contact either myself (203)512-3452 or by email, or Jason McGahan (860) 538-3920 or by email at before heading out to the Protest. We are waiting for final word from the permits office, and may seek emergency legal action if we are barred from protesting.

Again, supporters of Immigrants Rights must have a strong presence that evening. IF YOU SUPPORT IMMIGRANTS RIGHTS, THIS IS AN ACTION YOU CANNOT MISS! The effects of this policy in Danbury, would have long reaching effects on immigrant communities, and the towns in which they live. If you are a Danbury Resident, please consider attending the Council Meeting IN Council Chambers to speak your mind on this issue. If you are from a surrounding town, you may also sit in on the meeting, however, only Danbury residents and tax payers are allowed to speak. Any support in the audience, though, for those who will be supporting the Cause of Immigrants on the inside of Council Chambers will be greatly appreciated, and encouraged.

Jean C. Hislop
Stop the Raids, Danbury

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Danbury 11 files suit agains the City of Danbury!

With the help of Yale Law Schools legal Clinic, members of the Danbury 11 are filing a law suit against the City of Danbury for what appears to be Violations of their Civil Rights committed at the time of their arrest on 9/19 of 2006.

Despite Mayor Mark Boughton's assertions that neither he, or the local police had any involvement in the immigration sting which was conducted that day at Kennedy Park in which 11 Ecuadorian Day Laborers were lured into a van by authorities, disguised as contractors, and then arrested on alleged immigration violations, new documents have come to light through an FOI filed by the students at Yale Law, which contradict the Mayor's earlier statements. These documents assert that the Van which was used in the Sting was actually driven by a local police officer, NOT an Ice Agent, amongst other issues, prompting the question "What jurisdiction did a Local Police officer have to make that warrantless arrest?". And if this warrantless arrest was sanctioned and/or encouraged by the towns Mayor, then why did he deny the local police involvement with the sting?

Yale Law Students, today, held a Press Conference where they discussed these questions.

Please view the following news coverage at Hat City Blog for more information.

You can also view video coverage at WTNH channel 8's website

Read the article about it at WVIT

or at the New York Times

And there is sure to be more to come.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Media Coordinator for NumbersUSA studies at the same school as Lou Dobbs.

Apparently, the leaders of NumbersUSA study at the same school of lies that Lou Dobb's graduated from.

In a recent episode of the morning talk show program on KHOW-AM (of Colorado) Talk show host Peter Boyles, and Media Cooridnator for the Anti Immigrant group "NumbersUSA" spun lies and misinformation about the DREAM act.

"Discussing the latest version of the federal DREAM Act on the September 18 broadcast of his 630 KHOW-AM show, Peter Boyles allowed guest Caroline Espinosa -- the media coordinator for the anti-illegal immigration activist group NumbersUSA -- to claim that the legislation would make certain illegal immigrants "instantly non-deportable." Espinosa further falsely claimed that sponsors of the legislation "are not asking anybody to provide proof that they were here ... illegally ... before the age of 16." However, according to Section 3305 (2)(B)(b)(1) of the DREAM Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security "shall terminate the conditional permanent resident status of any alien" who fails to meet the required conditions of their status, including one who "become[s] a public charge" or receives "other than honorable discharge from the uniformed services." In that case, the immigrant's status would revert to illegal, making the immigrant deportable. "- from Colorado Media Matters

While the DREAM act is far from a fair and Comprehensive Immigration Reform Plan, the spin that these two anti immigrants have put upon it, typifies the anti immigrant propaganda campaign. This bears mentioning, because recently the Danbury News Times Comments section has been flooded with spam messages with links to the Numbers USA website, and many a local community member is being misinformed, and misled by such "masters" of political spin as these individuals. Local anti-immigrant groups CTCIC (as demonstrated in its' spring newsletter where NumbersUSA and another well known political spin artist Lou Dobbs are quoted) and USCFILE are big proponants of their brothers from NumbersUSA.

*Note: USCFILE's website is down, but when it is back up, an update to this article with their promotion of NumbersUSA will be added.

*UPDATE: USCFILE's website is back up, and sure enough guess what site they're advertising? USCFILE's Links Page has NumbersUSA as a reccomended site, which again, just goes to prove how far they are willing to go to mislead the public, and even have the NumbersUSA website in the left column links bar, where it reads "Fax your representatives free".

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Said Zaim-Sassi Deported

While the battle of the Danbury 11 continues, Sadly, Morroccon Immigrant Said Zaim-Sassi lost his battle with ICE, on September 6th, New Haven Independent Reports.

Danbury 11 Trial Results.

The trial of the Danbury 11 continues! The fight of activists, lawyers, community members, and faith groups to support the remaining 9 of 11 day laborers illegally arrested at Kennedy Park in September of last year, has made it possible to see that the Danbury 11 are having their story heard, and to have their case continued until October.


How can the Immigrant Community Protect itself?
A Public forum

Saturday, September 22nd 6:00 pm
Basement of Saint Augustine's church
10 Campfield Avenue, Hartford


Maximo Morales
Victim of a warrantless immigration arrest in Hartford

Father Thomas Mitchell
Pastor, St. Augustine's Church. How can we prepare for the next ICE
raid in Hartford before it happens?

Jason McGahan
Stop the Raids - Trinity College. What is the purpose of the raids?
What are immigrants doing around the country to fight back?

Yessica Orbegozo
Educator on immigrants rights in case of raid

What is the context and purpose of immigration raids in Hartford and
across the country? What are immigrants and their allies doing in other
parts of the country to fight back?

Hartford has been key role to the nationwide assault on immigrants by
acting as a testing ground for new police methods such as arresting
immigrants in court buildings, denying their right to appeal and setting
their bond too high to pay. Mayor Perez has welcomed ICE into Hartford,
even referring to one sweep as a positive example of "an ongoing effort
amongst local, state and national authorities." This forum will
include a discussion of how the immigrant community and its allies can
organize effectively against these attacks and win the full legalization for
all that will eliminate the legal basis for the raids.

Sponsored by "Stop the Raids!" - Trinity College
For more information call 860-810-0253

Friday, September 14, 2007

Connecticut State University Newspaper Publishes Racist Cartoon.

In another example of how the immigration debate has caused an increase in the frequency, and openness of racist opinions, Connecticut State University's student newspaper published a vulgar, and dehumanizing cartoon which activists say dehumanizes latino women, Danbury News Times Reports.



Solidarity picket at the federal courthouse
Monday, September 17th, 8 a.m.
450 Main St., Hartford

The next hearing of the Danbury 11 is on Monday, where they will argue
for a trial on grounds that ICE violated their 14th Amendment rights.
Join us for this next stage of the fight!

On September 19, 2006, eleven day laborers jumped into a van expecting
to go to work on a construction site, but were instead taken straight
to jail. Their driver was not a contractor, but a federal immigration
agent in disguise.

Homeland Security declined to release their names. They were jailed 150
miles from home to impede their defense and streamline their
deportations. Six were shipped to prisons in Texas.

The Danbury 11 joined the nearly 16,000 Latino workers currently being
unjustly held in a system of local and national prisons. Their case
puts U.S. immigration policy on trial.

This raid, like all the other raids being carried out by ICE
(Immigration & Customs Enforcement, arm of Homeland Security) is designed to
induce terror and keep workers from fighting for decent wages and

This protest was initiated by Stop the Raids! Students of Trinity

For more information, contact Randy at or

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rally in Hartford for Said Zaim-Sassi, and March to Liebermans Office!

The fight to free Said Zaim-Sassi Continues:

Please Forward to your lists and congregations:

We will protest the abduction and imprisonment of Said Zaim-Sassi again this week.

A rally at the Immigration Court will be followed by a march to Senator Lieberman's office.

Lieberman is chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
and he can act to free Said.

Please call the following politicians so that they can act in this matter:

Dodd (860-258-6940)
Lieberman (860-549-8478)
DeLauro (203-562-3718).


What: Protest and March from Immigration Court to Senator Lieberman's Office

When: 8:00 am Friday 31 August, 2007

Where: in front of Immigration Court, 450 Main Street, Hartford
At around 5:00 am on August 20, ICE agents raided the Zaim family home in Wallingford, CT
searching for Said Zaim-Sassi.

His terrified children woke as ICE shined flashlights in their faces, yelling profanities.

In the 20 years he has lived in the U.S., Said has had absolutely no criminal record
and has been completely compliant with immigration requirements.

His work and charity have benefited many in his community.

ICE has treated him and his family like criminals.

His three kids and his wife, all U.S. citizens, don't know when they will see him again.

ICE's actions, designed to instill fear in the community, rip families apart.

Community members and activists from throughout Connecticut
will be in front of Immigration Court in Hartford on Friday August 31
to demand the release of Said Zaim-Sassi and other innocents like him in detention.

We will not allow our neighbors, our friends, and our family to be treated like animals.

Immigrants are workers, not criminals. Stop the Raids.

Sponsored by Unidad Latina en Accion, Stop The Raids-Trinity College, Middle East Crisis Committee.

Proudly endorsed by People of Faith.

You can view footage of last weeks protest here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Labor Shortage disproves the statement "They're takin' yer jobs!".

Since the federal crackdowns on undocumented immigrants started reaching the boiling point here in the US, farmers have been complaining, around the country, that they can no longer find enough workers to pick their crops, and that crops are rotting in the fields because of it. They have warned us for a long time, that the loss of migrant workers would result in crop loss, and thus, in the long run, higher prices for all of our meat and produce at the markets. This article from Yahoo points to new evidence that the statement which claims Immigrants are "stealing our jobs" and creating a job shortage in America, for American Workers is a bald faced lie. In fact, there is no job shortage, there is a shortage of laborers to FILL those jobs. Not just in the agricultural sector, but spanning various markets including construction, landscaping, food prep, telemarketing, and more.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Video Documentary on Detention Centers.

While many people hear about, and are horrified about the way that a raid is carried out, often, the media fascination with that story, and possibly the public interest, seems to end, then and there. However, for the immigrant taken in that raid, the horrific paramilitary style of raid in which they are captured, is only the tip of the iceberg of their misery. Often, they are denied adequate legal counsel. Often, their basic rights which any "American" prisoner would have are denied to them, (such as visits with family, etc). And often, they are housed in horrible conditions. Sometimes, they are thrown in with hardened criminals in a county jail. Or, thrown into a privatized detention center, which in many ways, is not better, but worse, due to the lack of federal regulations. Media rarely picks up on the horror stories which occur in these prisons and detention centers, but there have been occasional stories of prisoners dying due to the awful conditions in them. Steward County Detention Center's conditions were SO deploreable, that 1,000 of its immigrant prisoners launced a two day hunger strike, at one point, in protest of the horrible conditions. And this three part series documents some of the reasons why.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Full Vigil Footage now Available.

The full footage from the vigil is now available at

Highlights Here:

Online Videos by

Enjoy! (Thanks CTBlogger!)

More on the Story of Said..

In a story eerily reminiscent of that of the Santos Family, though perhaps even more drastic and disturbing, Morroccan Immigrant, Said Zaim-Sassi was forced from his home in the early morning hours of Monday Morning, and now sits in a jail in Rhode Island awaiting his deportation trial, which will be held in Hartford, CT tomorrow morning. A report from WTNH states:

Wallingford (WTNH) _ A Wallingford family is demanding answers from the government for raiding their house and seizing a man in front of his kids.

Said Zaim-Sassi, a Moroccan immigrant, was doing everything he could to stay in this country legally but he lost his last court battle in January.

He told immigration officials he would surrender whenever they wanted, but instead they raided his home before dawn on Monday. Now relatives are saying that his children have been traumatized for no reason.

You can also watch the video of the story at the same link.

EMERGENCY ALERT! (warning, harsh language)

From People of Faith, CT:

Please Forward to your lists and congregations:


What: Press Conference and Protest on Recent Raids

When: 8:00 am Friday 24 August, 2007

Where: in front of Immigration Court, 450 Main Street, Hartford
Media Contacts: Khalil Iskarous 203-668-2698
Yusuf Zaim-Sassi 203-606-4942
At around 5:00 am on August 20, ICE agents raided the Zaim family home in Wallingford, CT. Yelling "where the f**k is Said? Where the f**k is Said?", agents pushed Said's mother-in-law to the wall. His terrified children woke as ICE shined flashlights in their faces, yelling profanities. They abducted Said in front of his traumatized family. Is he a killer? A rapist? A thief? No, he's a man who has lived for his family and his community. In the 20 years he has lived in the U.S., Said has had absolutely no criminal record and has been completely compliant with immigration requirements. His work and charity have benefited many in his community. ICE has treated him and his family like criminals. His three kids and his wife, all U.S. citizens, don't know when they will see him again. ICE's actions, designed to instill fear in the community, rip families apart.

Community members and activists from throughout Connecticut will be in front of Immigration Court in Hartford on Friday August 24 to demand the release of Said Zaim-Sassi and other innocents like him in detention. We will not allow our neighbors, our friends, and our family to be treated like animals.

Immigrants are workers, not criminals. Stop the Raids.

Sponsored by Unidad Latina en Accion.

Proudly endorsed by People of Faith.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Vigil Results..

The Prayer Vigil for Immigrants Rights, and Racial Tolerance was an absolute success. 75-80 people came down to Kennedy Park to join in prayer, song, witness, and solidarity for the ideals that all human beings are equal, and that NO human being is illegal. A collection was taken on behalf of the Santos family (torn apart by ICE) and on behalf of ARC's emergency legal aid fund. Over $350.00's was raised for these two worthy causes. In addition to 7 clergy as speakers, there were roughly four or five other clergy in the gathering, as well as numerous lay members of various churches, as well as activists, community leaders, and public officials. There were members of the immigrant community, as well as supportive friends and concerned citizens. It was truly a microchosm of all that makes Danbury such a wonderful city. And all were united in a single purpose, to support, and stand in solidarity with our Immigrant brethren.

The event was not even marred slightly by the few anti immigrant protesters who found their way down to the site of the Vigil, intent on creating disruption. One man held up a sign that said "Immigrants have no rights" and another member of CTIC showed up and started loudly complaining. The man with the sign stood at a respectful distance, perhaps realizing that disrupting a religious assembly would be a very unintelligent move. The woman was quickly reminded of that, and left shortly.

It was a truly inspirational day to those of us gathered at Kennedy Park. We have pledged to work together in the future, to educate, to support, and to protest when needed, all in solidarity with our Immigrant brethren.

You can read the Danbury News Times Coverage of the event here.

And keep an eye on Hat City Blog for full video coverage, and write ups regarding the vigil.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

When Local Police Collaborate with ICE...

Unfortunately, this type of article will most likely become an ongoing theme here at the Stop the Raids blog, unless we are finally able to create a true unification of compassionate and humane minded people to stand up to this sort of treatment of Immigrants. A Brazilian man living in Rhode Island was pulled over for a traffic offense, and when discovered to not have legal documentation, was held for questioning by ICE. This man had a dangerous form of epilepsy, that without medication, could result in his death. And though his Sister rushed to the Police Station immediately upon his arrest, to give the police officers his medications, the local police refused to administer the medication to this man, which then did, in fact, result in his tragic death.

What sort of country are we becoming, when we allow such things to occur without a nationwide outcry?

Interfaith Vigil 8/12

Area clergy, and activists are coming together in solidarity to defend our Immigrant Community here in Danbury on 8/12, at 2pm at Kennedy Park. This Vigil is planned to be quite large, and from all appearances, promises to be a very strong statement on the issue of Immigrants Rights.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

2/3 of New Jerseyans believe Immigrants should have Shot at Citizenship.

From NJ.Com

New poll: Give citizenship to illegals
A new poll released today says about two-thirds of New Jerseyans think illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in this country for at least two years deserve a shot at U.S. citizenship.

About 30 percent of those surveyed say illegal immigrants should be deported, according to the survey by Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey, the Associated Press reported.

Along the same lines, about a third said illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans, while about 60 percent of respondents said illegal immigrants take only jobs Americans don't want.

About 75 percent of those surveyed said illegal immigration was a serious problem for New Jersey, and nearly 90 percent said it was a serious problem for the United States, the poll found.

The findings were similar to a national poll taken in May by CBS News and the New York Times.

NJ is only two short skips away from CT..and why do I post this? Because I am sure that the anti immigrant whack cases (the type of which leave obscene, bitter comments in this blog, which are deleted, for instance), are NOT representative of the true feelings of MOST Americans, and MOST Nutmeggers, or MOST Danburians. They're a small but noisy group of embittered individuals, who just happen to use the most toxic language, and rhetoric in hopes of creating mistrust, fear, and hatred.

When immigrants cannot trust Police.

This article is exactly the type of situation that could happen in Cities where local police collaborate with ICE. And it is exactly the reason why New Haven, CT's ID program, could help to create a safer environment for immigrants. All human beings are given certain inalieble rights, one of those being their personal safety. Ones' legal, or undocumented status does not in any way, exclude them from the right to their personal safety. Yet in hundreds of cities across the US today, drastic (and as we've recently seen with the Hazleton, PA case) UNCONSTITUTIONAL local laws, are creating a climate in which Undocumented immigrants are dehumanized, and stripped of even their most basic human and civil rights.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


In February, Stop the Raids hosted a forum at WCSU, and one of the guests we were thrilled to present, was a Lawyer from the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education fund, John Garcia. Hat City Blog captured John Garcia's speech, and has posted the footage here

We at Stop the Raids would like to thank John Garcia (amongst all of our other presenters that day) for coming and talking with us. And we would like to say Congratulations on the thrilling victory in the landmark case against Hazleton, PA's proposed anti immigrant legislation. The City of Hazleton has been defeated, it's proposed laws deemed Unconstitutional, which means today, the Judge in this case ensured the rights of thousands of Immigrants!

Excellent Article Dispels Myths, Propaganda, and Lies.

COHA (Council on Hemispheric Affairs) printed an great essay today which systematically deconstructs many of the propagandized arguments used by the Anti-Immigrant movement here in the US. Many of the arguments proposed in this letter, are things which if one used basic common sense, people would see on their own. The problem is that the propaganda of the Nativist movement predicates on peoples basic fears, and fear is something difficult to dispel with rationale. However, it is my hope that with excellent articles such as this, we can arm ourselves against the propaganda, arm ourselves with the truth, and begin to engage in more postive dialogue with people, which may help them come to some new enlightenment on the issue.

All eyes on Hazleton.

Today, a federal judge will rule on whether local ordinances enacted by a rogue Mayor in Hazleton, PA are constitutional, and will stand. Laws which declare English the only Language for public speech, and which restrict Landlords ability to rent to Undocumented Immigrants. Other towns across America are trying to enact similar laws, and thus, this is a landmark case, that Activists should keep an eye on.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Wake Up America!

If the Anti-Immigrant Extremists in Danbury had their way, this is what would be happening here in Danbury.

People have likened the current ICE raids to Witchhunts from the Medeivil period. Frankly, I feel that those in support of such methods as these, clearly see Immigrants as little better than animals. And it seems to me that a whole lot of people are willing to become a nation resembling Nazi Germany, in order to hold on to their deep seated fears and predjudices.

Americans must wake up, and see that this sort of maneuver is absolutely obscene.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

American Culture?

One argument often used to support anti immigrant sentiment and/or legistlation is a nativist attitude which proclaims that America is at risk of losing our cultural identity as a result of the influx of Immigrants. This is obviously feeding into Xenophobic individuals' fears. In the comments section of the recent News Times Live article regarding the breakup of the Santos Family, one such nativist exposed her true xenophobia, and almost immediately had her "Losing our Cultural Identity" idea shot down, very quickly. Thanks to Dis Noir..who certainly did his homework ;)

Posted by: DisNoir36 Thu, Jul 19 2007
Um actually, the man responsible for most of the early Disney characters was what would now be considered an anchor baby whose father was from Germany. Walt Disney was also an anchor baby, a decendant of an Irish family which emigrated to North America and first established roots in Canada.

Superman was co-created by an anchor baby son of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania named Joel Siegel and a Canadian born named Joe Shuster. Shuster was also the son of Jewish immigrants who emigrated from Holland.

Jeans were first created in Genoa Italy and went to France where they got the name blue jeans or 'bleu de Genes' which translates into Blue of Genoa. Levi Strauss was a German who brought them here in the 1850's.

Halloween or All Hallow's even, is a pagan holiday imported from England and other parts having origins among the Scots and Irish there who brought it here. It's also known as Samhain, and is the night before All Saints Day which was a Catholic holiday created to coincide with a pagan holiday for the purpose of converting pagans. BTW Christmas is another pagan holiday which was bastardized by the Catholic Church and created to coincide with the Winter Solstice. It's no coincidence that according to the Catholic Church Jesus Christ was conceived (supposedly) on March 25 as that was also the day he died. Neither the gospels of Matthew nor Luke mention when Jesus was actually born. The only thing uniquely American about either one is the complete commercialization of religious days.

Thanksgiving which is not uniquely American was started by British immigrants who thanked god for the food they had, food provided by Indians in 1621. It's also celebrated in Canana and actually predates the origins here in the US having been first celebrated in 1578.

I'll give you Memorial Day since that was a uniquely American holiday first celebrated after the Civil war by among other people liberated slaves.

Oh and not even Elvis Presley, who was descended from Scottish and German immigrants was without immigrant influence having developed his musical style from gospel and blues music which was predominant among the southern black communities. Unless of course you consider slavery as uniquely American, since many of those soutern blacks would not have been here if it wasn't for slavery.

Seriously, next time you go spouting off nativist crap, check your goddamn facts. SHO is correct in that the American culture was by and large created by immigrants and children of immigrants who brought over their culture and traditions from other parts of the world and from that adapted it to life here in America. We would not have many of what we have if it weren't for immigrants.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ice Raids Danbury again, takes 4.

Danbury No News times reports that ICE has raided danbury again, taking 4.

Paula Grenier says it is "Difficult for Ice to provide information on the arrests without the names of those arrested".

What I think this means, is that ICE will only release information on those arrested, if someone calls with the persons name, and asks for information on them. Such as a family member. The problem with this, of course, is that there are many undocumented immigrants who do not have family here, and who live on the fringes of community. A day laborer who doesn't have a regular job wouldn't have a boss who would call to inquire, for instance. May not have a family member here. May not have a church community here. So in essence, these people truly are being "Dissappeared" for all intents and purposes.

And, since the M.0 of ICE is to go for those most vulnerable, and exposed, this may be the case with this latest raid.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bumped: UAW / Stop the Raids event.

This Saturday, at 7pm. Please join us!

Upcoming Event- STR and UAW presents...











For more information, please call 203-448-9140

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Immigrant Advocate/Activist faces Deportation.

With ICE's increasing presence in bus stations, airports, and train stations, random interrogations pertaining to citizenship status are becoming common-place. Victor Toro, a Chilean Born immigrants rights Activists who has lived here without documents since he left Chile (where he had been imprisoned for opposing Gen. Augusto Pinot) in the 1970's, and who has lived in the US since 1986, was one of the most recent victims of this sort of sweep. In an ironic twist of fate, a man who has been a constant ally, and outspoken activist on behalf of the Undocumented Immigrants living in the US, was searched while on a train from Rochester, NY to the Bronx, and when questioned about his status, admitted he was not a US Citizen, and also admitted that he had no legal papers to be here. He is now in prison in Cayuga County Jail, in Auburn, NY, awaiting hearing. Victor Toro plans to apply for Political Asylum, however, the case will be very difficult, since he has been here for many years, without applying for such status. However, a deportation to Chile would be even more difficult, because Under his countries political regime, he would have been pronounced "Dead". Mr. Toro applied twice for a new Chilean Passport, and was each time, told he had been pronounced dead.

One must wonder, how many of our undocumented residents fall into such status, where they are unable to return to their own country, and yet, declared "Illegal" here as well.

Read the full article from the New York Times here:

Create safe, legal way for Immigrants to come to US.

Rev. Laura Westby of the First Congregational Church of Danbury wrote this letter for "Forum on Faith" the weekly religion page of the Danbury News Times Saturday, July 14th edition:

My denomination, the United Church of Christ has sometimes been accused of being too political. The intersection of faith and daily life is clear to us, but we sometimes forget to articulate for others the deep theological roots of our civic engagement.

We understand that the biblical mandate to include radical hospitality and care for all of God's people, especially the poor, the stranger, the homeless, and the oppressed. Since the Devine One has always stood with those on the margins of life, we must do likewise. For us, the real work of ministry takes place in the real world.

Rev. Westby goes on to describe the rich, and long history of Social Action within the US, including very active and groundbreaking roles in the foundation of the American Revolution, Activities in the Abolitionist movement, and the Civil Rights movements in the United States during the Sixties. She even reminds us that we are all originally immigrants to this country.
This commitment reaches back to the settling of our nation by religious refugees, the pilgrims, and puritans, the Forebears of the Congregational Church, a predecessor of the UCC. In 1620, these earliest immigrants were exhorted to be as "a city on a hill"

She continues to explain through examples of historic acts of Civil Disobedience, public demonstration, legal discourse, and in their own decisions as a religious community to support the work of Martin Luther King Jr, electing the first African American Minister here in the US, the first Woman Pastor, and the first Openly Gay Pastor, the UCC has continued its path toward Social Equality, and Justice.
This denominational dedication to issues of Social and Civil Justice have led the UCC to designate Immigration as a primary issue in recent years. Rev. Westby goes on to describe her participation in her denominations discourse on Immigration.
At our most recent biennial meeting, delegates to our national convention continued our historic committment to peace and justice through resolutions dealing with marriage, the environment, workers rights and Immigration. Immigration has been a hot topic in the Greater Danbury area during my three year pastorate here. So I was pleased when I was assigned to the committee of delegates that would take action on three proposed resolutions dealing with Immigration.
One of the key provisions of the resolution calls for churches to engage in dialogue with immigrants, partner with them to support immigrant communities, and end the injustices they suffer in both their home countries, and in the US. This portion of the resolution grew directly out of my experiences in Danbury.

The event of such discourse with Immigrants in the Danbury Community allowed people to feel a connection with the experiences, and hopes of Immigrants. And to reaffirm their common values, beliefs, and aspirations.
As a member of the Association of Religious Community board of Directors, I participated in dialogue with some of the "Danbury 11" We heard their stories of frustrated attempts to enter our country legally. Of having to choose between feeding their families and remaining at home. Of risking their lives for a chance at the blessings we take for granted. Hard questions were asked and answered by both groups. In the process, we began to see one another not as categories like "Illegal Immigrant" or "Anglo" but as fellow human beings.
Looking me straight in the eye, one man said "We want to feed our families, send them to school, and keep them healthy. We want a chance to work, and even pay taxes. We want a better life, just like you

Pastor Westby goes on to exhort members of her specific denomination, but in a larger sense, to all interfaith communities that
Creating a safe, effective, legal way for those seeking a better life in our country which takes into account security issues in our nation, is more than a political dilemma. It is a moral and spiritual one which is best addressed through education, and dialogue, prayer, and service to all Children of the Creator.

I would add that another necessary element toward striving for the "better life" for Immigrants here, would be acts of civil disobedience, and legal actions, similar to those engaged in by the early forefathers of this nation during the era's of the War of Independence, and the era of Abolition. That just as our forefathers did, we must today, take up the cause of our brothers, and march along with them. Defend their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Through discourse, demonstration, and defiance when necessary. And to challenge our government to make brave steps foward in the legalization of all those who come to America seeking a better life.

Kudo's to Rev. Laura Westby for such a well written, and important letter. You can meet, and speak to Rev. Westby at the Interfaith Vigil being organized for August, 12th at 2pm at Kennedy Park in Danbury, as she joins other Area Clergy in Prayer for Tolerance, Peace, and Justice for Immigrants.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Swift Plants Raided Again.

Many of you may recall the Stop the Raids forum held on 2/25/07 at Western Connecticut State University. The Stop the Raids campaign hosted two workers from the Swift & Co Meatpacking plant in Hyrum, Utah, one of the sites which was then part of one of the largest ICE raids in history, involving simultaneous raids, at multiple plants, all owned by Swift & Co Meatpacking. These two workers told a story of absolute horror, in which parents were taken from their jobs, leaving behind children who were in school, in the hands of daycare workers, and babysitters, with no idea where there parents were, or why they hadn't come to pick them up and bring them home that day. Their story was heart rending. A month or so later, the same sort of event happened in a Leather Factory in New Bedford, MA, and captured national attention yet again, this time, with the horror stories including those of Mothers being hauled off to deportation centers, while their nursing babies were left in the hands of husbands and other families, and then were rushed to the Emergency Room for Dehydration just shortly after, due to their lack of their mothers milk.

Today, The Houston Chronicle reports that Swift & Co was raided yet again, in multiple locations. This time, 20 workers were the Victims of ICE's strong arm tactics.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

ICE arrests Danbury Family of 4 in Hartford.

Ice appears to have hit an all time low here in Danbury, according to this article in the Danbury News Times.

DANBURY — Four Danbury residents were arrested by ICE Tuesday when they visited ICE offices in Hartford to straighten out immigration paperwork.

While details of this raid are not discussed in the No-News Times, supporters of this family have set up their own blog to request support, and donations.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Upcoming Event- Prayer Vigil for Immigrants.

For Immediate Release: (An event not sponsored by Stop the Raids, Danbury. But important, none the less, and which has our full support).

A Vigil led by members of the Interfaith Community, and Clergy will be held on 8/12 at 2 pm. Location to be confirmed.

Reverend Gail-Keeney Mulligan, of St Johns Episcopal Church has circulated this letter to members of the Clergy:


Your help is deeply needed in attendance and Participation in an upcoming vigil on the Green in Danbury for the healing needed in our nation, our state, and our community around issues of immigration.

Undocumented Immigrants are being criminalized in our state, and raids are taking
place in homes and at work. Men and women are being jailed and separated from their children, and shipped to places where they are held, and cannot be found by family and friends.

Many of the undocumented immigrants have come to this country out of desperation,
and have experienced extreme exploitation. Thousands have been trafficked with promises of good jobs, hope for their families left behind, and hope for a better life. Instead they have been forced into slave labor. Into being workers with no rights, forced into prostitution. And they are also living in constant fear of arrest, and deportation.

Racism has grown with the focus of undocumented workers with words like 'criminal' and 'alien', especially towards those who are Latino. It is time that the faith community stood up and spoke up for God's Children and the human rights of every individual.

We are calling for a Prayer Vigil for a just way foward for everyone, a way that
respects the dignity of every human being. We are calling for a vigil that aknowledges the victimization of many undocumented workers in order for many of us to consume more for less, while they struggle to survive.

We are calling on you to join us and to gather hundreds, and hundreds of our sisters and brothers as people of many faiths, yet one in the human race, and as Children of God.



Reverend Gail Keeney-Mulligan has addressed this issue correctly. Activists, and Faith leaders must join together. We must overcome politics, and personal issues, and realize what is at stake in this battle. Our souls. America, as a whole, is a country founded by those who faced oppression. It was built, by people fleeing poverty, starvation, political strife, and personal tragedies. Just like the Immigrants from today. Danbury, as a microchosm of this great nation, has likewise been built from the sweat of Immigrant labor. And the salt of immigrant tears. It is our sincere belief that the change that needs to happen in America right now, needs to begin in the hearts of its people. And who better to lead the people, then the various shepherds of their many faiths? In the words of Martin Luther King "An injury to one, is an injury to all". Our Immigrant Brothers and Sisters, are only separated by us in matters of language, and culture. NOT in matters of humanity. We must realize that if we turn a blind eye to their mistreatment, we open a door in which any culture, religion, or person can be the victim of similar victimization. It is time to unite, in our common values, and support our brothers and sisters. Activists marching alone cannot turn back the tide. Though the power of people demonstrating is a power to be reckoned with, so too is the power of unity with purpose in any manner. Please attend this vigil, and stand united against racism, oppression, and victimization.

Upcoming Event- STR and UAW presents...











For more information, please call 203-448-9140

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Recent Video Footage from Protest in New Haven.

When ICE raided New Haven, CT, in response to the municipal ID program initiated by Activists and Mayor Destefano, Stop the Raids members were there, marching along with Activists from all over CT. View segments of the march here.

Street Protest Is the Source of Our Power

It is so exciting to see students taking a stand against the Government's latest form of attack on our community's civil and human rights. Fair play to our own Charlie Fuentes and all the Trinity students involved in this movement! He speaks the truth about how we should move forward!

Our own Charlie Fuentes has hit the nail on the head with this article in the Monthly Review E-zine.

Stop the Raids!
Street Protest Is the Source of Our Power
by Charlie Fuentes

On Wednesday, June 6, federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted a sweep of homes in New Haven, Connecticut. They arrested 33 immigrant workers and set off a series of mass protests calling for the release of detainees and an immediate halt to federal raids. On Saturday, June 16, a mass mobilization of one thousand immigrants and supporters marched through the victimized neighborhood of Fair Haven. We reproduce below the speech that Charlie Fuentes, a student leader with Stop The Raids! -- Students of Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.), delivered at the rally. Some revisions were made for publication.

ICE raids are the federal government's way of telling us that immigrant workers' voices are not welcome in the immigration debate. This mobilization today marks our re-entry into that debate. We are confronted with a contest of strength: Will ICE disperse the immigrant rights movement and force unfair legislation upon us? Or will we cripple ICE's ability to terrorize us and remove it from our path to amnesty?

There is an expectation that the reform debated in the Senate would grant a type of amnesty that would stop the raids. But how can we expect Congress to grant us rights that we cannot defend ourselves? What they are prepared to offer us is a bill that expands immigrant prisons, normalizes collaboration between ICE and local police, gives police financial incentives to racially profile suspected immigrants, and shackles immigrant workers in a cycle of bureaucracy and debt, while holding out legalization for a select few. This bill will leave millions of workers ineligible for legalization and vulnerable to the vastly improved repressive apparatus.

Their guest-worker program promises to strip undocumented workers of precious means of self-defense like anonymity and job mobility. It is designed to incarcerate the base of our movement, legislate the enslavement of an entire generation of workers, and drive down wages and conditions for all.

We have already shown that street protest is the source of our power to alter the Congressional debate. Prior to May Day 2006, the word "legalization" was not in Congress's vocabulary. Now we need to teach them the meaning of the word "amnesty." Congress will only ratify the gains that we present as an unavoidable reality.

The fights to defend each other against the raids and win a general amnesty are one and the same. A raid protested is a movement strengthened. Let this thrilling experience today give rise to new initiatives for self-defense in the immigrant community. We already have informal networks in place in our neighborhoods to warn each other about raids. A more effective plan for self-defense is thus within our reach.

Our movement is not ready to accept the terms of surrender in the Senate reform. A real victory for all immigrants is a reform that makes them invulnerable to ICE attacks. Such a victory is possible. Each step that we take as a movement united in the streets is a step towards amnesty. And amnesty is the true victory. Stop the Raids! Amnesty now! Si se puede!
Charlie Fuentes is a student activist with Stop The Raids! - Students of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.


In Hartford, CT last week three people were taken in another illegal ICE Raid. In a show of solidarity, the families of those taken along with the supportive community took to the streets, holding a rally on the steps of City Hall. Here is the press release for the event with a little more information on it as well as some press coverage of the event.
(Scroll down the list of video clips to 'Immigration Raids' on 6/29.)


Come and show support at the press conference in front of City Hall
Friday, June 29, 11 a.m.
550 Main Street, Hartford

Deacon Arthur Miller, Office of Black Catholic Ministries
Margaret Steinegger-Keisser, Director, Greater Hartford Interfaith Coalition for
Equity and Justice
Ibrahim Jibrell, Stop the Raids! Students of Trinity College
Eldr Diaz, relative of the detainees
Representative, Hartford Areas Rally Together
Fatima Rojas, Unidad Latina en Accion of New Haven

On Wednesday, June 20, at 6 a.m., more than a dozen federal agents from
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided the apartment of Enendi Diaz,
Antonio Diaz, and Norma Velazquez at 55 Standish Street in Hartford.

ICE came looking for Norma on a deportation order. They snatched her boyfriend,
Enendi, and his cousin, Antonio, as "collateral damage." They jailed them in
Hartford for two days, then transferred them to Rhode Island. None of the family
recalled Norma ever receiving a deportation order.

A press event has been scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. in front of City Hall to protest
this raid.

Enendi, Antonio, and Norma are not criminals. And ICE's paramilitary-style
assault on their home was not law enforcement, but enforcement of a second-class
status for immigrants. With one hand, ICE withholds them legal status, with the
other it seizes them on suspicion of being here illegally. How long can we allow
ICE to punish the victims and perpetuate the crime?

This event is sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and Stop the
Raids! Students of Trinity College. Speakers list in formation.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A Tribute To Abba.

Anyone who has been involved in causes of Peace and Social Justice in the Danbury Area for many years, knows the name Gulamhusein Abba. And so to many of us, this letter came as a great surprise, and brings great sorrow. We at Stop the Raids owe a great debt of thanks to Abba Gulamhusein, who has certainly helped to inspire, and encourage activists of all branches of Social Action, and we would like to extend our best wishes for his continuing good health, and a prosperous and fruitful life.

Best Wishes, Abba. Thank you for everything.

"From: Gulamhusein Abba
Subject: Farewell, Al-Wida
Sent: Monday, July 2, 2007 9:24 PM
Dear friends,

After devoting more than 50 of my 79 years to various struggles and intense activism, and, in the process, completely neglecting my health, my finances, my career and my family, I have, in my 80th. year, decided most reluctantly and with a very heart to retire from the field, tie up loose ends before the Grim Reaper comes knocking on the door and, time permitting, try and write my memoirs.

In taking this decision I have been reassured and comforted by the fact that there are now vibrant anti-war, peace and justice, immigrants' rights, and environmental groups very active in the greater Danbury area.

After I came to this country in 1982, I was quite dismayed to see a lack of any visible labor movement or peace and justice activism in Danbury. My efforts to unionize the workers at my place of work met with little interest from the workers but quite a lot of interest from the employers, who promptly fired me.

I had the good fortune to be introduced to Walter Hrozenchik, a stalwart activist. He opened the door to activism in Danbury for me and provided me with an opportunity to get my views across to a large audience through his weekly hour-long TV program "Earth Matters".

I remember that during those early days, specially during the Desert Strom action against Iraq, often it was only Walter and me, and sometimes only Walter or only me, protesting the war, standing with signs in front of the Danbury Library. We lamented the lack of any appreciable involvement by young people, specially from the campus.

The picture is quite different now. Dedicated young people have come into the field. Chris Towne, Chris Garaffa, Alissa DeRosa, Elizabeth Dyer, Melissa Lane, Marisa Katz, Villavicencio Leonell, Kathy Devlin and her two youngsters, Andrew Ziegler, Dave Bonan, Tony Barrett, Elke Probst, Jeff Green, Colin Colon, Jason McGahan, Fatima Rojas, John Lugo, Marela Zacarias, Naveen, and several others have done excellent work and achieved commendable results.On the campus, Kileen, Sohair and Saman have revived old groups and formed new ones.

All these have received valuable support from people like Maria Cinta Lowe, Wilson Hernandez, P.J. Leopold, Lynn Taborsak, Philip Berns, Carl Trichler, Emanuela Palmares Lima, Eliette Matos, Pena, Rev. Linda Hansen, Rev.Laura Westby, Stanley Heller, Mazin Qumsiyeh, Justine McAbe, Christine Gauvreau, Leo McIlrath, Gale Courey Toensing and others.

And, of course, the irrepressible and indomnitable Walter Hrozenchic carries on.

Yes, activism is well and strong in not only Danbury but all over USA, indeed all over the world and I feel I can now withdraw from the field with an easy conscience and with the full confidence that it will grow stronger by the day.

To all those with whom I have had the honor and privilege to be associated with I say thank you for having extended to me your support, camaraderie and friendship. It was a pleasure working with you for the common cause.

So, my comrades, goodbye, farewell, sayonara, au revoir, al-wida.

Keep the struggle going.

With best wishes and in peace,

Gulamhusein Abba