Editors note from NH Labor News : Immigration reform is a very important issue for many progressives and those in the labor community. Over the weekend, labor joined with community activists to call for real immigration reform. After the rally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers conducted raids in southern New Hampshire. ICE stated that the two events are in no way connected, however, the way these raids are being conducted is now raising quite a stir. Below is a special post from Arnie Alpert talking about the impromptu protest to the raids that were conducted.
Forty faith, labor and community activists prayed, sang and protested outside Manchester’s Federal Building this afternoon to express outrage about recent actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in area homes and businesses.
ICE agents entered a Nashua, N.H., home in the wee hours of Sunday morning, roused residents from their beds and took away two men in shackles. The men had no criminal records and were released by ICE on Monday, according to a Nashua Telegraph report.
Also Sunday, a squad of ICE and local police officers entered the El Mexicano Jr. restaurant in Manchester, took away two customers, asked other customers for IDs and threatened to return.
The ICE actions reveal a frightening contrast to policies that are supposed to place priority on people who could be considered threats to public safety and leave others alone. The home raid also appears to violate terms of a recent federal court order, which bars ICE from searches without warrants.
Outside the Norris Cotton Federal Building, participants expressed outrage at ICE’s abusive actions. They also said they will call on the state’s members of Congress to help rein in ICE and act speedily to approve humane immigration policies.
Nancy Pape, chair of the New Hampshire United Church of Christ Immigration Working Group, led the group in a prayer. Members of the Sisters of Mercy led another. The program included a rousing rendition of “We Shall Not Be Moved” in Spanish and English, and concluded with “We Shall Overcome.”
The demonstration was organized in a day by the American Friends Service Committee, N.H. Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, SEIU locals 615 and 1984 and others involved in support for immigrants’ rights and humane immigration policy,
Activists plan to meet up again at the State House Plaza in Concord on May 1, International Workers Day.
This is a cross-post from Arnie Alpert's InZane Times blog.