cleIMC home

Cleveland Indy Media Center

cleveland indymedia
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Radio Show Publish
white themeblack themered themeblack themeblack themeblack themeblack themeblack themeblack themeblack themetheme help


Sep 20 Real Time Presentation Service from Money Maker Ma

Sep 25 Columbus Socialism Forum -- Why You Should Vote So

Add an Event





printable version - email this article

Report back from Painesville- immigrants raids and protest
by lee Tuesday, May. 22, 2007 at 7:44 AM
leethompson_7@yahoo.com

Last week, federal agents conducted raids on Mexican immigrants in Painesville. In the fact of this, people there held a bold protest on the steps of city hall. A couple of us went to Painesville with Revolution newspaper, and this is what we learned and experienced.

Report back from Pai...
1.jpg, image/jpeg, 252x167

In the early morning of Friday, May 18, Mexican workers and their families in Painesville OH were awakened by federal agents knocking on their doors, drawing thier weapons, and arresting people. Young girls on their way to school were questioned by the feds, including a 12 year old girl who was grabbed by the hand and asked where she was born as she walked to her school bus stop!

These vicious raids were officially called "Return to Sender(!)" and were conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency's (I.C.E.) "Fugutive Operations Team." I.C.E. said that they were looking for 15-18 people who had not complied with deportation orders, but the numbers of people taken in were much higher, and people we talked to said that the raids were done randomly. There were also people apprehended who had legal papers. Families were split apart, children left without parents, and the whole community was terrorized.

Fear and anger spread rapidly through this small community, about 40 minutes east of Cleveland. There are 8,000 to 10,000 Mexican immigrants who live in Lake and Ashtabula counties. Most of them work at huge nurseries that plant and grow trees, flowers, and some wineries. They do back breaking work, including digging holes in the midst of bitter Ohio winters, when the ground is frozen.

We spoke to a woman who works at a local laundromat. She said that Saturday's are usually packed with hundreds of people doing laundry, but on the day after the raids, only 6 customers came in. It was reported that many Mexicans slept in the fields, fearing the raids.

But on that same day, over 200 people held a protest rally on the steps of the Painesville City Hall! It was overwhelmingly Mexican immigrants, but also included people from the Puerto Rican community and some white people. They held signs saying, "Stop deportations," "Don't leave our kids without parents," and "You are destroying our families." This rally was very significant and courageous!

Over 400 immigrants sought sanctuary in a local Catholic Church. One woman said, "We heard people say we can come here to be safe." We spoke to Father Steve from St. Mary's Church about why they gave refuge to these families. He said "it's the natural thing to do." But he also told us some more about the nature of the raids. "They happened very early in the morning, waking people up. They would knock on the door, and once people opened the door, the feds would be inside. Even tho they said they were looking for specific people, they had most of the addresses wrong, and just asked everyone for papers. They even had the addresses wrong for the nurseries." Father Steve also said since there is no local jail in Painesville, people didn't know where those who had been taken into custody were at.

We also went out with Revolution to the Mexican grocery stores. While our ability to speak Spanish was limited, we did connect with dozens of people. We wanted to let them know that it was important and inspiring that people stood up to these raids. People were happy and surprised to know that their message was being heard and welcomed. And they welcomed our message that "We are Human Beings, We Demand a Better World, We will NOT Accept Slavery in Any Form." In 45 minutes, we sold out of our Spanish newspapers! So we continued by getting out previous issues of Revolution in Spanish, along with big color posters we'd made of the May 1st statement by the RCP.

We talked to a Mexican store owner who's lived in the U.S. for 20 years. He brought food and beverages to the church were the immigrants were gathered. He said that he used to think that this country was free, but since September 11, no longer feels that way. "How can this country say they want to fix other countries when they let people die in New Orleans and how they treat immigrants?" He, like many others, didn't understand why the government was going after immigrants. "Are they really trying to get all the immigrants out of this country?" We used parts of the RCP's May 1st statement in discussing what is going on, and why. He felt that things are only going to get worse, referencing the Bible, but also said that people have to keep fighting. He took a stack of Revolution to distribute to people from his store, and also got a copy of Bob Avakian's CD "Why do people come here from all over the world."

In a year marked by massive raids and roundups of immigrants, hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets of major and small cities across the country on May 1 to give voice to their burning demand to be treated like human beings. People from different walks of life are demanding answers and are organizing further outpourings to speak out against this program and challenge broader sections of people to ask if this is the kind of society they want to live in—where people are viciously attacked for demanding basic rights.

As we said to the Mexican immigrants in Painesville, "from the point of view of the people on the bottom, there is not an immigration problem, there is a capitalism problem. "

The world cries out for revolution.

---------------

Breaking news: the struggle continues in Painesville! Monday night, over 300 people rallied and marched. The News-Herald reports,

"Many of Monday's adult marchers held signs bearing messages like 'We are part of this community' and 'Leave the families alone,' while young people's signs declared, 'They can't deport us all' and 'My future is here.'"

Chants in Spanish included "We are not criminals," and "Stop the raids."






add your comments


LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 4 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Fucking Racist Jessica Cordero Thursday, Apr. 17, 2008 at 1:14 PM
Racism alive & well as usual Tina B. Tuesday, Jun. 19, 2007 at 10:36 PM
ignorance is alive and well MJ Friday, Jun. 08, 2007 at 12:46 PM
The Second American Revolution Suzie Friday, Jun. 08, 2007 at 11:17 AM
IMC Network: www.indymedia.org Projects print radio satellite tv video Africa ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq nigeria south africa Canada hamilton maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg East Asia burma jakarta japan manila qc Europe alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol bulgaria croatia cyprus estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege lille madrid malta marseille nantes netherlands nice norway oost-vlaanderen paris/île-de-france poland portugal romania russia scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia west vlaanderen Latin America argentina bolivia brasil chiapas chile chile sur colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso Oceania adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne oceania perth qc sydney South Asia india mumbai United States arizona arkansas atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado danbury, ct dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk idaho ithaca kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma omaha philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca seattle tallahassee-red hills tampa bay tennessee united states urbana-champaign utah vermont virginia beach western mass worcester West Asia armenia beirut israel palestine ukraine Topics biotech Process discussion fbi/legal updates indymedia faq mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer

© 2000-2006 Cleveland Indy Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Cleveland Indy Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy