Rally for Justice

A few weeks ago, NPK wrote an essay about the work of Dr. Erik Camayd-Freixas, a certified Spanish-language translator for the federal courts, to document his experience with the horrendous ICE raid in Postville, Iowa. I am happy to report that people are not letting this travesty pass without notice.

First of all, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a hearing about the raid last Saturday. Big props to Reps. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., Albio Sires, D-N.J., and Joe Baca, D-Calif. for your courage!!!!!

And on Sunday, an interfaith group of over 1,000 people representing Catholics, Jews and Lutherans held a rally and march in Postville to speak their minds and show their solidarity.

Perhaps the most poignant write-up about these events is from Rabbi Brant Rosen in a post titled Demanding Justice in Postville (also where I got the pictures).

There were, of course, counter-protesters. But things seemed to go peacefully enough.

The Rabbi pointed out that the picture that “says it all” is this one – of a mother who had been arrested and wears an ankle bracelet standing by her son, who is holding an American flag.

And here’s a video of the rally and march.

The question about why this should matter to people who have not been directly affected by this travesty is perhaps best answered by David Neiwart in his post titled A Line Was Crossed at Postville.

It’s perhaps worth remembering that incipient police states always target the most vulnerable members of society when they start out. And in today’s America, there are no people more vulnerable than those millions of workers here, for a human universe of reasons, illegally. That’s not to say we are in an incipient police state, but the warnings are unmistakable — especially in tandem with the Bush administration’s massive acquisition of previously unimagined executive-branch powers — and should not be dismissed blithely.

We can sit back and watch with grim satisfaction as these people are rounded up like cattle and forcefed into a Kafkaesque travesty of justice, and say to ourselves: Glad it’s happening to them and not me. But sooner or later, those same forces find new targets. And sooner or later, we’re all on that list.

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  1. New York Times there was an OpEd from George Gasc√≥n, “a former assistant chief in the Los Angeles Police Department, [who is now] a lawyer and the chief of the police department in Mesa, Ariz.”

    The feds are trying to get local police to raid neighborhoods looking for undocumented workers.

    The OpEd says:

    We are also students of the mistakes of our predecessors. Past police practices helped lead to the civil unrest of the 1960s, which tore our nation apart along racial and political lines. We do not want to repeat those mistakes.

    If we become a nation in which the local police are the default enforcers of a failing federal immigration policy, the years of trust that police departments have built up in immigrant communities will vanish. Some minority groups may once again view police officers as armed instruments of government oppression.

    A wink and a nod will no longer suffice as an immigration policy. Effective border control is a critical step. But so is ensuring that otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants have the same protections as everyone else in a modern, free society.

    I’m glad to see regular citizens are beginning to protest this travesty of justice.

  2. what i’ve been writing about: we are ALL on that list. and before it’s too late, we’d better figure out a better way of inciting some kind of questioning about these tactics as it relates to all those “who have not been directly affected by this travesty” to form new kinds of alliances in this new context… if we’re to have any chance of stopping this:

    these martial law games are illegal i believe.

  3. but nonetheless hopeful note, it seems that the people of Ecuador are standing firm in their promises to NOT renew the lease for the US’s Manta air base.

    I would just advise President Correa of Ecuador to not take any rides in small planes over the next couple of years.

    (I think its ok for me to hi-jack my own comment thread. This didn’t need a whole diary, but I think its an important story to watch.)

  4. . . . in Iowa about the rally that was pretty favorable, including a story in the Des Moines Register.  It mentioned that state troopers were on hand knowing a counter-demonstration was planned, but it did seem pretty peaceful.  

    One minister read the following Bible quote at the rally:

    “You shall treat the stranger who resides with you no differently than the natives among you,” he read. “Have the same love for him as for yourself, for you too were once strangers in the land of Egypt.”

  5. today at The Sanctuary.

    Last week, Dr Erik Camayd-Freixas, the court appointed interpreter who blew the whistle on the flagrant abuses of civil rights that marked the aftermath of the ICE raids in Postville Iowa last May, testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law.

    Additionally, The ACLU has acquired a copy of a Government “manual” distributed to defense lawyers assigned to represent the immigrant workers arrested in the meat packing raids. The manual contians prepackaged scripts for plea and sentencing hearings as well as documents providing for guilty pleas and waivers of rights to be used by both the judges and attorneys in expediting procedures as quickly as possible with little regard for due process.

    So, the government scripted the defense lawyers with a manual on how to avoid due process…blows the mind!

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