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Hundreds of immigrant workers and allies protest mass raids


On Dec. 15, over 200 people joined a militant picket outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Chicago. They were protesting a recent escalation in mass raids on immigrant workers.

For over an hour protestors chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, racists raids have got to go” and “Chertoff eschuca, estamos in la lucha!” Micheal Chertoff is the Secretary of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE.

The picket line stretched out for a full block at its height.

The emergency picket was called to fight back against the Dec. 12 mass roundups of immigrants at Swift packing plants in six different states. Immigration and local police forces surrounded and raided the plants in full riot gear. Over 1,820 workers were arrested and 13,000 were locked down and terrorized.

The raids tore apart families and disrupted the functioning of entire immigrant communities. Many children of the detained workers were left in school that day and school officials had to scramble to make arrangements for relatives to look after them. Sylvia Martinez of the immigrant rights organization Latinos Unidos reported that in Colorado alone more than 100 children were separated from their parents because of the raids.

The Dec. 15 action was initiated by the March 10th Movement which was the principal organizer of massive immigrant rights demonstrations in March and May in Chicago. Members of the Food and Commercial Workers Union also participated in the protest. The UFCW is the union that represents workers at the raided Swift packing plants.

Along with many other progressive organizations including the Centro Sin Fronteras, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Mexico Solidarity Network and the International Socialist Organization, ANSWER Chicago volunteers mobilized for the protest and carried picket signs that read, “Stop the raids! Full rights for all immigrants now!”

The well attended emergency protest in Chicago shows that the immigrant community is continuing to mobilize to resist increasing government attacks.

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