raids and round ups

This week MEChA did its first street theater action on campus to raise awareness about farmworker rights and the dangers affecting Mexicans (and others) crossing the U.S./Mexico border to come here to do the backbreaking work that most Americans are unwilling or unable to do. Some of us played the role of dead bodies among the graveyard that is the desert along the U.S./Mexico border. Others played farmworkers who were dutifully doing their work while being yelled at by their overseer. We did this in the middle of Boise State’s quad at the same time that students were moving between classes so there was a lot of pedestrian traffic. One student was clearly very upset with us and began an argument because he said we were “criminals” because we support “illegal activities” such as “illegal immigration.” When we called security about this they came but chose to monitor us rather than help assist us/protect us.

Ironically, a few hours after our event ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) did a raid on the dairies of Homedale and Wilder. From what we heard from students and others who have family members and friends who are worried about this latest raid, it seemed random. At the same time, we have learned that the raid was thought to have been planned for a long time because they did an I-9 audit, which gave ICE current and former employee names and addresses. A student’s brother-in-law was working at one of the places where the raid took place. ICE also went to people’s homes to question, interrogate, and round up people. ICAN has a hotline set up now for families to call about family members who have been detained. I think that some people were let out on $5,000 bail, but not a lot of details are known yet.

All of this is coming at a time when Dr. Sami Al-Arian continues his hunger strike, continues his detention in spite of being found not guilty. Recent film clips on Youtube highlight his case (taken from the documentary, USA vs. Al-Arian). The film I posted yesterday links these causes–Mexicans and Palestinians–but we need to think more about these connections between U.S. policies (foreign and domestic) and the way that they target particular groups of people and demonize them, criminalize them.

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