Stop blaming migrants

From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters

Los Angeles—On Oct. 7, 150 Latina/o, Black, Asian and white youths gave public comments at the Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting against extending Regulation 287g, which was to expire. The regulation allowed the L.A. County Sheriff to act as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents putting into practice the so-called “Secure Community” policy allowing deputies to question anyone who appears to be a Latina/o migrant as a criminal suspect. It has resulted in thousands of working class migrants and even U.S. citizens to be stopped, detained and deported.

The public comments were overwhelmingly against extending Reg. 287g. One person told of children taken by the Dept. of Children Services and put in foster care after parents were detained. A migrant woman said when she and her husband went to pay a traffic citation, he was arrested and detained for six months and she was harassed and beaten by the sheriffs.

The week before, working-class migrants and youth held a press conference outside the BOS building with signs that read: “Stop Breaking Up Families,” “No More Deportations,” “ICE Sheriffs Out of L.A.,” and “Stop Militarization of the Border.” On that day, the time for public comments was cancelled.

After our comments on Oct. 7, Supervisor Gloria Molina spoke against a motion to delay the vote until two newly elected supervisors were inaugurated in January. Molina is one of two retiring members of the Board. As she spoke, we stood up, turned our back to the BOS, and raised our fists for 15 minutes as Spanish-language media covered our non-violent protest. After Molina, a long-ago progressive, joined the two white conservative supervisors to cast the key vote in a 3-2 decision to extend 287g, we all walked out chanting, “Molina deports, Molina deports.”        

—Basho

 

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