On June 15th ROP joined CAUSA and SEIU Local 503 in the streets to protest Immigration & Custom Enforcement’s relationship with local law enforcement and call for an end to deportations. Immigrants, allies and friends rallied and marched through the streets in front of one of the largest ICE facilities in the Northwest.
CAUSA continues to lead the call in Oregon for "reform, not deportation!" (one of our rallying calls at the rally & march). ROPers and local leaders around the state have added their voices to the call for justice, fairness and a humane immigration system. Folks from Central Oregon traveled in for this event to add their fire to the march with drumming and chanting. ROP Board Chair, Kathy Paterno added in her voice for the media on behalf of the ROP community (see the story below).
Protesters gathered at a park near the ICE headquarters to hear speakers from ROP, CAUSA and SEIU Local 503. Marching around the block, we stopped in the intersection blocking traffic for about 10 minutes chanting Obama escucha! Estamos en la lucha! and No más muertes! The march ended in front of the building to hear more speakers- members of the immigrant community- talk about the impact of ICE programs and deportations on their families and communities. One speech highlighted the recent murder of a 14 year old boy on the border by ICE officials.
The call for justice is happening in every corner of the state- earlier this week over 10 counties were represented on a call convened and facilitated by ROP to discuss the Secure Communities program and the impact it’s having in our local communities. The Secure Communities program increases collaboration between ICE & local law enforcement and has been implemented now in 3 Oregon Counties – Clackamas, Multnomah, and Marion. But the struggle continues on and Secure Communities has only added fire to the flames of resistance in these three counties. ROP leaders from other counties (Crook, Lincoln, Deschutes and more) are engaging in dialogue with local police departments and educating their communities about the dangers behind this program. (To read more on the Secure Communities program and how communities in rural Oregon are responding- check out this link.) And email email@example.com if you want to see notes from the call.
my best, Cara
Groups to Protest ICE Program that Divides Families and Threatens Community Security
March and Rally calls for end to ICE program that divides families
(PORTLAND, Ore.) – CAUSA Oregon will conduct a joint demonstration with Rural Organizing Project (ROP) and SEIU Local 503 OPEU outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office in Portland. During a march and rally, members of the groups will call for an end to a program that threatens community safety and security.
Started in October 2008, "Secure Communities" is a national immigration program that targets non-citizens who are arrested by the police. The primary purpose of the program was to deport undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of serious and dangerous criminal offenses. However, the program is being used routinely to deport hard-working undocumented immigrants with children who are U.S. citizens.
"The tragedy of this program is that it does the opposite of what it’s name suggests. Instead of making communities secure, it threatens the already fragile relationship between local law enforcement and the Latino Immigrant community", said Francisco Lopez, CAUSA’s Executive Director. "Because immigrants may fear being separated from their families and deported, they will be less likely to report crimes where they are the victim. This makes EVERYONE less secure."
The Oregon State Police has agreed to implement the "Secure Communities" program and it is now active in Clackamas, Marion, and Multnomah Counties.
"We want to see the hardworking Latino members of our rural communities acknowledged and appreciated, not harassed, exploited and deported," said Kathy Paterno, Rural Organizing Project Board President.
"Local law enforcement requires good relationships and trust in order to keep everyone safe, but ICE’s involvement in our local communities is jeopardizing that trust. What we need is a fundamental overhaul of our nation’s broken immigration system to prevent further erosion of our communities."
On Tuesday, groups will not only call for an end to the program that divides families and damages community trust but will also continue to pressure Congress and President Obama to pass comprehensive immigration reform.