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Sign on letter about raids in New Bedford, MA (Deadline 3/7 10 AM EST)
Released 07 March 2007  By M. Elena Letona - Centro Presente

IMPORTANT!!! Sign on letter about raids in New Bedford, MA

Please sign on to this letter by 10:30am tomorrow, Wednesday March 7th. Please
send to Gabe Camacho of Project Voice at gcamacho@afsc.org

Dear Friends: We urge you to please consider signing on to this letter which
will be presented tomorrow at a press conference/action in front of the JFK
Building at noon. This action has been coordinated by a broad based group of
organizations across Massachusetts in response to the raid conducted by ICE
that resulted in the detention of hundreds of immigrant workers, mostly
women, from Mayan communities in Guatemala. Scores of children were not
picked today by their parents at childcare and schools this afternoon and
their future in uncertain. PLEASE help and join us by lending your
solidarity in signing on to the letter and in distributing throughout your
networks.

We need to know your response by 10:30 a.m. Wednesday 3/7.

Thank you!

M. Elena Letona
Executive Director
Centro Presente
54 Essex Street, 2nd Fl.
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 497-9080, ext. 11

*****************************************************************************************
March 6, 2007

Bruce Chadbourne
District Director
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
US Department of Homeland Security
JFK Federal Building
Boston, MA

Dear Mr. Chadbourne:

We, the undersigned, write to communicate our dismay at the ICE raid
conducted at the Michael Bianco, Inc. factory in New Bedford that resulted
in the arrest of over 300 immigrant workers. As organizations representing
all sectors of civil society in Massachusetts, we are outraged at the
military style operation and devastating effect it is having on the New
Bedford community, especially the families of those being detained. These
types of raids tear apart families, spread waves of fear and panic
throughout the community and hurt local economies. These actions do not make
us feel any safer or stronger as a nation.

We wish to communicate to you our following demands:

1) We call for the immediate release of all the workers who have been
detained. Many of the detainees are parents with children, some of whom are
US citizens. All of them, however, are human beings, with certain
inalienable rights. It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for them to
be detained on a military base and shipped across the country, far from
their families, while their cases are being reviewed.

2) We demand that the detained workers have full access to appropriate
legal representation. Our country prides itself upon respecting due process,
therefore we expect that your treatment of those in your custody be
consistent be with those values.

3) We also call for a moratorium on the raids. While the US Congress
continues to seek a solution to the country's immigration system, with
legislation to be introduced next week, we call upon the US Department of
Homeland Security and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to put a
stop to the raids so that the debate in Congress can be carried out in good
faith, rather than against a backdrop of fear and repression.

Amidst the pain and trauma that this raid has already caused in the New
Bedford community and beyond, we maintain hope that you will do the right
and humane thing by responding positively to our demands.

Sincerely,

(Signatory organizations here.)

CC: Michael Chertoff

Barney Frank


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