Press Statement from El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition Concerning Recent Raids and Anti-Immigrant Bills.
February 19, 2011
For Immediate Release: Friday February 18, 2011
Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.
Immigrant Community and Allies to Mobilize Against ICE Repression and Washington State Anti-Immigrant Legislation.
SEATTLE – El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition are mobilizing for an action on February 25, 2011 in Seattle (details on time and location are forthcoming) to protest the recent escalation of attacks against the immigrant communities in Washington, on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and anti-immigrant legislation proposed in Olympia. This will be one of many actions to take place in anticipation of the annual march set for May 1st, 2011.
In a recent ICE operation in Central Washington, agents descended upon the small city of Ellensburg, Washington under the pretext of targeting presumed “criminals.” The resulting raid in Ellensburg saw ICE agents use strong-arm tactics to forcibly enter homes without consent and remove hard-working immigrants from their families at gunpoint of a semi-automatic weapon. In Yakima, Washington, ICE agents stationed themselves in grocery store parking lots, in a show of intimidation not seen in the area in many years.
In Olympia, there are presently six proposed bills that impact the immigrant community. One example is SB 5407 that would force new drivers to present a Social Security Number to be issued a license. The hearing itself had little to do with transportation and much to do with political pandering as supporting details failed to take transportation safety and cost of implementation (in wake of a budget crippling recession) in consideration.
The sponsor, Sen. Haugen (D-Camano Island) presided over a session replete with fictitious information and xenophobic grandstanding that failed to afford many witnesses the opportunity to testify. The resulting audience dissent forced her to shut down the proceedings, silencing those who came to speak.
Given the complex nature of the discussion around immigrant rights in wake of congressional inaction, immigrant organizers and allies from various social justice organizations throughout the Puget Sound region will employ a two-fold organizational campaign to address the situation as it plays out with ICE and the State Legislature. As done the previous eleven years, organizers will continue to fight to secure the basic rights of all, regardless of place of origin.
For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.