Bay Area organizing against ICE raids

By Roger Dyer

FREMONT, Calif.--Activists are organizing to defend immigrant rights here after officers of the Fremont, Calif., police department arrested 15 Latino day laborers at a Home Depot in an early morning raid March 28.

One of the detained men recounted that as many as a dozen officers approached the laborers, who were there looking for work with local contractors, and informed them that they were "trespassing." The police then asked for immigration documentation and asked the men if they were "legal." All 15 were taken to jail and, ultimately, turned over to the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Two men were subsequently released on bond, but all the rest have either been deported out of the country or sent to await deportation at a transfer center in Eloy, Ariz.

Fremont police detective Bill Veteran later told NBC 11 News, "As a matter of courtesy, we alert ICE when we conduct" these kinds of operations. This kind of "courtesy" is common in the city of Fremont. According to reports gathered by local immigrant rights activists, Fremont police have been harassing Latino drivers. After making a traffic stop, they ask for immigration papers--racial profiling, plain and simple.

Additionally, a local chapter of the racist Minutemen began organizing in Fremont in 2006; and though driven back into the shadows by protests organized by anti-racist activists, the Minutemen chapter still exists.

As Socialist Worker went to press, a rally to protest the raid was scheduled for April 5 at the Fremont Home Depot. Another rally set for April 12 will attempt to bring together labor and community activists from around the Bay Area.

Strong grassroots activism and organization will be key in the fight to push back the anti-immigrant attacks and to defend the rights of all working people.