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Vol. 72/No. 34      September 1, 2008

Workers at Virginia airport protest raid
(front page)
FAIRFAX, Virginia—Chanting “Stop the raids and deportations!” some 60 people held a picket line outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices here August 13 to protest the arrest of 42 construction workers at Dulles International Airport.

More than 200 individuals were stopped at an ICE checkpoint at the airport that morning. All those arrested were detained for immigration violations.

“We want due process,” Jessica Alvarez, a leader of the National Capital Immigrant Coalition, told the crowd that protested the arrests. “We demand that these workers be given their day in court here in Virginia.”

Ricardo Gallardo of Mexicanos sin Fronteras said the detainees should not be sent to far-flung locations where it would be more difficult for them to fight their deportations and receive family visits. Workers arrested by ICE are often “lost in limbo in the jails,” he said.

Gustavo Guzmán, the Bolivian ambassador to the United States, also addressed the rally. Twenty-nine of the workers arrested are Bolivian.

Daniel Arancivea, a construction worker originally from Bolivia, told the Militant that his son-in-law was one of those arrested. “In our country, the indigenous people are poor,” Arancivea said. “We come here to work because we need the money to send back home. If I didn’t send money home, my children couldn’t go to school.”

Rossana Torrico, 26, also from Bolivia, told El Tiempo Latino that her husband Limber Orellana called her on his cell phone after being detained by ICE. But when she called to get more information, immigration cops told her to call later, giving no further explanation.

Kimberly Propeack, from the immigrant rights group Casa de Maryland, told the Washington Post that ICE officials at the agency’s office in Fairfax City turned away a lawyer who agreed to represent the workers.

An ICE press release about the raid said, “It is crucial to ICE’s homeland security mission to know who enters sensitive areas like airports, military bases and power plants to insure the integrity of these key assets.” But ICE agent Mark McGraw admitted to the Post that there was “no indication” that any of the arrested workers “were involved in any terrorist activity at all.”
Related articles:
Calero backs immigrant rights in Delaware
Anti-immigrant bill defeated in Nebraska town  
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