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News ::
Protests Over INS Detentions (english)
21 Dec 2002
Modified: 15 Jan 2003
In what is becoming a familiar sight, protesters again gathered Friday
evening in downtown Boston outside the John F. Kennedy federal
building, which houses the regional headquarters of the United States
Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS).
The thirty-five to forty protesters came despite a heavy rainstorm to protest the detention of hundreds of non-citizens by the INS in southern
California. They plan to return to the headquarters for another
protest on Monday, December 23, and said they will post the details of
the Monday protest on the Amer Jubran Defense Committee website,

The INS has issued an order for certain immigrants to register with
the INS in person. The order applies to all male immigrants over the
age of sixteen without permanent residency status from up to twenty
predominantly Arab or Muslim countries. Following the Monday
registration deadline for males from Iran, Iraq, Libya, the Sudan, and
Syria, the southern California offices of the INS detained hundreds
and possibly thousands of those who registered, according to reports
published by the Reuters news agency. Those same reports also include
allegations of inhumane treatment and overflowing jails.

Sunaina Marna, an American citizen born in India, said she was
protesting because she was shocked and upset by the detentions, which
she called a "brazen and cowardly way of terrorizing immigrants". She
said the effects of the detentions has been to scare the Indian
immigrant community, in the same way, she says, as they were scared to
leave their houses following September 11. Another effect it's had,
she said, is to bring together many different immigrant communities,
including Arab-Americans, Latinos, and African immigrants, who now see
themselves joined in a common struggle as immigrants.

Protesters carried signs reading 'Stop the camps before they
start/Free the Detainees', comparing the mass detentions with the
internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. During that
war, approximately 120,000 Japanese-Americans were imprisoned in camps
in the interior of the United States, following orders that they
register themselves in temporary "Assembly Centers".

The protest was first called by organizers from the Amer Jubran
Defense Committee (AJDC) on Thursday night, and word spread throughout
the following day by word-of-mouth, telephone calls, and, especially,
internet e-mail lists. The AJDC is an organization which formed to
help Palestinian activist Amer Jubran, who was detained by the INS and
FBI on November 4. Jubran is currently released on bond pending
deportation hearings. AJDC member Noah Cohen feels Jubran's case is
related to the California detainees and the more than 1,200
predominantly Arab and Muslim men detained following September 11.
The AJDC is looking to help build a national network in support of
detainees across the United States.

The decision was made to protest in the streets as an escalation of
other tactics that activists are pursuing, including letter-writing
and phone-calling campaigns directed at District Director Stephen
J. Farquharson and Deputy District Director Denis Riordan. Earlier in
the afternoon on Friday, a group of AJDC members met with Farquharson
on issues regarding Jubran's case. Coming out of the meeting, Cohen
felt that Farquharson was not interested in holding a good-faith
discussion on issues, but rather in maintaining the INS' public
relations image. Previous protests in front of the INS buildings have
been held regarding Jubran's case and that of Palestinian-Canadian
activist Jaoudat Abouazza, who was detained for forty-one days by the
INS before being granted voluntary departure to Canada. During his
detention, Abouazza has accused the Bristol County jail of removing
four of his teeth without permission, one of them only partially so.

Although the protest was aimed at the detention of immigrants,
Cohen feels that it is important for American citizens not only
because it is their responsiblity to defend people under attack, but
because "what begins with mass deportation of immigrants, ends with
repression of all of us." He cited the USA PATRIOT Act, a law passed
by Congress in September, 2001 and signed into law in October, 2001,
which extends the power of the US Attorney General to detain
immigrants as well as the power of law enforcement agencies to surveil
American citizens. The United States Department of Justice has a
"definite agenda of taking away Fourth Amendment rights" to protection
against unreasonable government surveillance, according to Cohen.
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Correct Date for rally (english)
23 Dec 2002
Please note the change in the date of the next INS protest to Jan 9 at noon. For more info, please visit
See also:
Remember 9/11 (english)
15 Jan 2003
It's nice to see that you have the time and energy to protest the INS, a federal agency taking reasonable steps to protect American citizens - how about expressing a little outrage against al Queda, Saddam or the Holy Land suicide bombers?

Moral relativism is a bitch, huh?