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News and reports

June 8, 2007 | Pages 14 and 15

ICE raid at UC-Santa Barbara
Rallying for immigrant rights
Defend Lawrence Hayes
Antiwar protest on Memorial Day

ICE raid at UC-Santa Barbara
By Owen Goodwin

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--University of California (UC) students are expressing concern and anger following an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid and the arrest of a student who attends UC-Santa Barbara.

The raid happened in the early morning hours of May 23 when ICE agents entered an Iranian student's apartment to check her papers. Finding no problems, they turned to the woman's roommate--Yoon Choi, a third year sociology and philosophy major, who had an expired visa. Choi was arrested and is currently being held in a San Pedro jail, awaiting a hearing with an immigration judge.

The raid has left undocumented students throughout the UC system feeling vulnerable to arrest.

According to the UCSB paper, the Daily Nexus, schools are required to verify the immigration status of international students through a system known as Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. But ICE apparently skipped any communication with the school before the raid, which is why agents mistakenly went to the Iranian students' apartment in the first place.

ICE is obviously employing the same tactics it has used in raids across the country--in which bystanders have frequently been swept up.

This incident also follows a string of racist injustices at the University of California. In the winter, an Iranian at UCLA was tasered in the library when he protested being racially profiled by campus police. At UC-Santa Cruz, administrators have singled out an African-American student, Alette Kendrick, sentencing her to an effective expulsion for her part in a campus protest last fall.

Students need to challenge this latest attack on our schoolmates--and demand an end to the ICE raids now.

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Rallying for immigrant rights
By David Thurston

WASHINGTON--Approximately 5,000 people rallied for immigrant rights on the west lawn of the Capitol Building June 2.

The National Capital Immigration Coalition (NCIC) organized the event as a way to influence the congressional debate on immigration, currently dominated by the "compromise" proposal introduced in the Senate.

Speakers criticized many components of the Senate compromise, including $5,000 fines for undocumented workers, the attempt to abolish a family-based immigration system, and provisions requiring immigrants who want citizenship to leave the U.S. in order to apply.

"Legalization without an exact date is unacceptable," said NCIC President Jamie Contreras. "A guest-worker program that creates a permanent underclass of workers is unacceptable."

But the organizers' goal was not to defeat the Senate bill. The rally didn't include any signs calling for legalization for all, and one of the main slogans was "Comprehensive immigration reform now"--a phrase used by everyone from George Bush to the main sponsors of the Senate bill and similar legislation that is pending in the House.

The framework being advanced by these forces is one in which intensified enforcement of immigration law and some form of a guest-worker program are delivered in exchange for a torturous legalization process for a portion of the undocumented population.

The turnout for this demonstration shows that thousands are ready to mobilize to defend immigrant rights and demand a just immigration policy--but to advance that sentiment, we need to reject the terms of debate in Congress and demand full legalization for all.

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Defend Lawrence Hayes
By Ben Davis and Rebecca Kurti

NEW YORK--Anti-death penalty activists are rallying against the most recent round of intimidation against former death row prisoner Lawrence Hayes.

Hayes, a former Black Panther and founding member of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP), was recently re-imprisoned after being accused of a parole violation.

In support of Hayes, the CEDP staged a press conference in front of the parole office in Brooklyn on May 25. In attendance were representatives from New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty and the anti-Lynching Movement; Councilman Charles Barron; Rev. Earl Koopercamp of St. Mary's Church in Harlem; Alan Newton, an exonerated New York prisoner who has been touring with Hayes and speaking about wrongful incarceration; and a coworker from the social service agency where Hayes is employed.

In the past, Hayes spent nearly three years behind bars on two separate parole violations that later proved to be false. These violations came within days of public appearances during which he spoke out against the death penalty.

While parole wreaks havoc on his life, Hayes has continued to make positive contributions to the community through his social service work. Activists are working to continue to keep Hayes' case front and center, and win justice for this outspoken fighter against the criminal injustice system.

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Antiwar protest on Memorial Day
By Ken Love

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--On Memorial Day, members of Rochester Against War (RAW), along with several other groups, filled a city block to march directly behind the city's yearly Memorial Day parade.

Carrying placards, banners and three 100-foot-long strands of rope with all the names of U.S. soldiers killed in the war attached, about 110 antiwar activists marched in the contingent.

Jake Allen, an organizer at his high school Campus Antiwar Network chapter, played bagpipes to keep the cadence as the group marched forward. "I think support has certainly grown for our movement," he said, "but I think that it still remains the silent majority. There were very few who were openly against what we were doing...[M]ost people, when they realized what was happening, applauded in support, and some folks even yelled out, 'Bring them home now!'"

At one point at the center of downtown, the entire sidewalk erupted in loud applause and messages of approval after an activist yelled out, "Make some noise if you're with the antiwar majority!"

Activists from RAW were able to distribute flyers and literature about the new Antiwar Storefront and to build for a July 3 "Cut the Crap, Cut the Funds!" protest that's being planned to give expression to the widespread discontent with the Democratic Party's inability to listen to the November mandate against the war.

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