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Vol. 74/No. 19      May 17, 2010

Atlanta rally condemns ICE arrests
ATLANTA—More than 5,000 people rallied and marched around the State Capitol here May 1 chanting, “Sí se puede” (yes we can) and “Obama, escucha, estamos en la lucha” (listen up Obama, we’re still fighting). A large banner on the stage read, “Mr. President Obama, It’s Not a Crime to be Brown.”

The day before the demonstration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced its agents had arrested 596 immigrants with “criminal records” during a three-day sweep across nine southeastern states and Puerto Rico, including 232 in Georgia. Dubbed, “Operation Cross Check,” this was the largest raid of its kind in this region.

Among the many handmade signs at the Atlanta protest were ones reading, “No 287(g),” referring to the federal program allowing local and state police to enforce immigration laws, which is implemented in several Atlanta-area counties.

Dozens of students from the Latina sorority Lambda Theta Alpha mobilized to attend the rally and carried signs that read, “Education, Not Deportation” and “I march for my sorority sister.” The signs referred to Jessica Colotl, a senior at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta, who was stopped and detained March 30 for a minor traffic offense. After jailers at the Cobb County prison checked her immigration status she was handed over to ICE. Colotl came to the United States from Mexico as a child. “We are all Jessica” was a popular chant in the crowd.

Sixteen-year-old Rocio Perez, originally from Mexico, carried a handmade sign reading, “We Are All Arizona.” She came with three others from her high school in nearby Clayton County. “This is an important cause, because this is our background. I believe everyone should have equal rights. There shouldn’t be any borders,” she told the Militant. One of her friends, Diante McFarland said he came “to help support my friends.”

Valentín Nava, a 23-year-old construction worker, said he attended the rally “to support legalization for all immigrants, for respect, and for reversing the law in Arizona.”

Leticia Martinez, a former sewing-machine operator, carried a sign that read, “13 Years is Enough!” That’s how long she has been waiting for her green card.

As the march wound its way through downtown Atlanta, many Black workers cheered and waved support, as did students at nearby Georgia State University.
Related articles:
Quarter million marchers demand immigrant rights
Phoenix rally: ‘We don’t run! We will stay!’
Vandals attack immigrant rights group
More union contingents join L.A. May Day rally
Immigrant rights strengthen labor
Mushroom workers rally on May Day Partial list of May Day actions in the U.S.  
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