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News :: Globalization : Human Rights : Labor
We condemn ICE Raid in Milford, Mass., and protest insensitive media reporting about it
12 Dec 2007
Last Friday, December 7, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents "supported" by the Milford Police Department raided an immigrant community again. They arrested 15 undocumented migrant workers. Reports indicate that most were from Ecuador. The media, uncritical and sympathetic to ICE reported that the workers were charged for violating criminal laws. However, the same article indicated that only one person was charged with violating "criminal laws". The others “will face a federal immigration judge." In other words, the raid was about migrant workers and not about criminal law enforcement.
We condemn ICE Raid in Milford, Mass. and protest insensitive media reporting about it
Last Friday, December 7, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents "supported" by the Milford Police Department raided an immigrant community again. They arrested 15 undocumented migrant workers. Reports indicate that most were from Ecuador. The media, uncritical and sympathetic to ICE reported that the workers were charged for violating criminal laws.

However, the same article indicated that only one person was charged with violating "criminal laws". The others “will face a federal immigration judge." In other words, the raid was about migrant workers and not about criminal law enforcement.

The local Chief of Police, Thomas O'Loughlin is quoted by the Milford Daily News as nearly lamenting that they cannot get involved in the issue of immigration, and finds the immigration system in the U.S. “laughable.” He declared, "They'll lock up one, they'll leave three ... I've had the agent say to me personally they're all illegals. We're not going to take them because there's nowhere to put them.” He also added, "If they want to out and get illegal aliens, they can come out any day of the week."

Almost as startling as the raid itself, is the unprofessional coverage by the Daily News. At no point does the reporter interview migrant workers, their families or communities. Instead, it provides a soapbox for the local Police chief to grandstand about his views on Congress. Ultimately, the reporter’s inappropriate word choice betrays her bias. To the reporter, to the Milford Daily News, these undocumented migrant workers are "illegals," to the Chief, they are worse, "illegal aliens." The Boston May Day Coalition like much of the rest of the world, believes that that “they” are above all else, human beings only seeking to survive with dignity.

The Coalition condemns this new raid, and sees it as part of the continuing war on immigrants. Likewise, we condemn the insensitive news coverage and the demeaning language used to describe undocumented migrant workers. No worker is illegal!

We call on all people of Massachusetts to join forces to stop the raids of migrant workers, and to demand immediate amnesty for the 12 million undocumented migrant workers in the country.
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We Commend ICE Raid in Milford
12 Dec 2007
Modified: 01:55:17 PM
Undocumented migrants are breaking the law eo ipso. The immigration laws are no less binding or there to be flouted than any other laws. Migrant opportunists and their apologists have no basis for self-proclaimed status of being above immigration laws. The raid was properly directed toward enforcing these laws by the appropriate agency tasked with enforcing these necessary immigration laws. Almost as startling as this willful disregard of immigration laws is the unprofessional coverage by IMC/May Day Coalition. At no point does the reporter interview ICE agents, their families or communities impacted by illegal immigration. Instead it provides a soapbox for politically correct bores to grandstand on their views about the ICE and local police chief. The Milford Daily New's description of those apprehended is entirely accurate: they have violated immigration law and are here without authorization, i.e. ILLEGAL! Ultimately, the May Day Coalition inapprorpriately believes that "they" are above all else, including above the law. We commend the ICE and others for upholding the dignity of our immigration laws that are being so blatantly trampled upon by ILLEGAL aliens and their self-rigteous apologists. Likewise, we commend the unemotional news coverage and the accurate language used to describe the violators: anyone who breaks the immigration laws is ILLEGAL! We call on all people of Massachusetts to join forces to enforce the immigration laws and to staunchly resist any amnesty programs that rewards 12 million ILLEGAL aliens for breaking our immigration laws.
US extends immigrant database to police
13 Dec 2007
By Maria Sacchetti
Globe Staff / December 12, 2007

Federal immigration agents are forging new alliances with local law enforcement agencies across Massachusetts in an effort to crack down on hard-core criminals, spurring anxiety and applause within immigrant communities.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has been taking its message on the road from Concord to Cape Cod, offering so-called ICE 101 presentations to the state's district attorneys, probation officers, and, most recently, large police departments, including those in Lowell and Lynn.

Some departments have eagerly signed on. In recent months, federal agents have trained select Framingham police, Barnstable County sheriffs, and state correction officers to detect and detain illegal immigrants for possible deportation. And, with immigration officials' encouragement, police and other agencies across the state are making thousands of calls to a federal clearinghouse in Vermont to check the status and identity of immigrants.

In some cases, the alliance is initiated by the municipalities. In other instances, it involves encouragement from the immigration agency to take advantage of its expertise. In almost all cases, the fledgling partnerships have stirred controversy about their impact on Massachusetts' rapidly growing immigrant populations at a time when illegal immigration is a key issue in the presidential campaign.

"It's not like we're forcing anything on them," said Bruce Foucart, the special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's office of investigations in Boston, which covers New England. "If we can establish a rapport with the police, district attorneys, and the communities, it's only going to benefit public safety as a whole. We've established some pretty good relationships, officer to officer, agent to agent."

Immigration authorities say the partnerships are helping cities and towns pluck criminals from their streets, and some local immigrant advocates agree. But statewide immigration advocates fear the push is opening a new front in immigration enforcement and deterring immigrants from reporting crimes.

On a recent night, their differing views played out in a first-floor auditorium in the Framingham Police Department, as part of a weekly seminar on a variety of issues, including the town's gang problem. Police dimmed the lights and flashed photographs on a movie screen of tattooed gang members. Police said the suspects may be involved in everything from home invasions to bloody brawls at the local McDonald's, and called the federal database a tool that can help them catch criminals.

Several advocates for immigrants whistled and applauded the department's efforts to work with the federal agency and detain the suspects.

"We are good people," added Carlos A. F. Da Silva, a community liaison. "It's very important to us to get these thugs out of the streets. They've been robbing people. We need to stop that."

But other community leaders shook their heads, saying the plan to work with immigration authorities made them uneasy. They are concerned that immigrants whose only violation is being in the United States illegally, a civil offense, will be swept up in the effort.

"I just feel the Police Department puts our community in threat," said Fausto da Rocha, executive director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center, who said police loosely define gangs as two or more people conspiring to commit crime. "They've trained two officers to go against our people."

Sergeant Richard Pomales, one of the Framingham's two officers trained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the criticism is frustrating when police are trying to reduce crime and protect all residents.

"Are you telling us to look the other way?" Pomales asked the attendees. "You are their first victims."

Pomales said he is haunted by news reports in August that an illegal immigrant in Newark was arrested in the fatal shootings of three college students. The man had been out on bail for another crime when he could have been held because of his immigration status.

Framingham is the only local police department in Massachusetts that has obtained authority to arrest illegal immigrants under a 1996 law designed to expand the federal agency's reach by deputizing state and local officials to help. Nationally, about 80 law enforcement agencies have applied for the authority. Before he left office as governor, Mitt Romney authorized State Police to enforce federal immigration laws, but Governor Deval Patrick overturned the decision in January, preferring to let corrections officers handle it instead.

Framingham's police chief, Steven Carl, said he asked to join the program because the federal immigration agency's database contains information that is not always available in state government databases, including whether a person overstayed a visa or was caught sneaking into the country. Carl emphasized that he targets crime, especially gangs, guns, drugs, and document fraud.

"When you're an undocumented immigrant it's very difficult, because we have to find out who you are to get you. You're a ghost," Carl said.

In recent months, Barnstable County sheriffs and Department of Correction officials have also had Immigration and Customs Enforcement train some of their employees. Now, local and state correction officers can screen inmates and turn them over to federal agents for deportation once their time is served.

"I did it because I didn't want people who were committing crimes here and who were illegal to just be released back into the street because people didn't know what to do with them," said Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings. "If they have to finish serving time here, fine, but then send them back to where they came from."

Framingham, Barnstable County, and the state have formal agreements to work with the federal immigration agency, but that isn't necessary for authorities to collaborate in other ways.

Any law enforcement agency statewide can check detained immigrants' identities over the telephone through the Law Enforcement Support Center, which was created in 1996 and launched in Massachusetts two years later. From October 2006 to September, Massachusetts law enforcement officers checked nearly 14,700 immigrants, up from 10,093 during the same period in 2003-04.

As a result of this center alone, federal authorities detained 599 immigrants in Massachusetts last fiscal year, five times as many as in 2005, according to ICE.

Nationally, calls to the center soared from a mere 4,000 in fiscal 1996 to more than 728,000 in fiscal 2007. The center logged its highest number of detainees last year - 20,339 people. The center is open 24 hours, 365 days a year.

Everett police said they have used the center for the past two years to identify people, such as someone who is stopped for a traffic issue but lacks identification.

Ali Noorani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said he opposes the collaboration on concerns that individual officers could target immigrants through racial profiling - and that immigrants will become afraid to work with police. He said he supports having local and federal authorities cooperate to deport violent criminals.

"The line is getting very, very blurry between local law enforcement and immigration enforcement, and if it is up to the individual officer of when he or she can or cannot call ICE, the opportunities for abuse and profiling are extreme," he said.
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What about the rights of the existing community?
19 Feb 2008
You "condemn the ICE raids in Milford?!" I condemn unchecked immigration in Milford! This was my home town! I grew up there! In the last 5 or 6 years it has seen unchecked immigration by those who have brought tuburculosis and bed bugs to our once-clean community. We now have the pleasure of live ammunition fired into the air on Sunday afternoons! The 15 Brazilian guys living on filthy mattresses in the two-bedroom apartment next to my mom's brought in bed bugs, which were eliminated in the US over 40 years ago. You can't get rid of these things! My mother was forced to discard all her belongings and leave her home of 25 years to avoid being eaten alive by these things when she slept at night! We had decent schools, which are now crap!

I am sick and tired of hearing about the need to respect the human rights of immigrants. What about the human rights of those who are already here!???? When my Irish ancestors immigrated 90 years ago they did so legally, with a sponsor, a place to live and a job!!! This is no longer the case!

We have a right to control the flow of immigration and to know who is entering our communities. Unchecked Immigration ruined my childhood communitiy and forced my mother to leave her home of 25 years in Milford. THE AMERICANS WHO ARE ALREADY HERE HAVE RIGHTS AS WELL, WHICH PEOPLE LIKE YOU APPARENTLY DO NOT CARE ABOUT!!

People like you and organizations like yours are making life worse by encouraging illegal immigration, which forces the immigrants to live in the shadows, and forcing legal US residents and citizens to bear the cost and see their communities wrecked.

Not that I expect a left-wing, socialist, politically correct, pseudo-intellectuals like those at May Day (are you Soviets as well?) understand. Apparently if you're not hispanic then your not protected by the politcally correct social facism that people like you no doubt espouse.

Go ahead and make my point by pulling this post as soon as you read it. I'm sure you will.

Dr. Sean P. Kearney
Albuquerque, NM