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LOCAL News :: Civil & Human Rights

Richmonders stand against ICE raid

A protest was held on Friday to oppose a recent ICE raid that targeted workers in downtown Richmond.

Calling the 33 undocumented workers arrested during a federal immigration raid earlier this week "disappeared," more than 50 Richmond protesters demanded to know where those people are being held and for immediate reunification with their families.

People gathered Friday afternoon at Seventh and Broad streets, site of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid Wednesday that rounded up workers from different Latin American countries who were helping to build a new federal courthouse. ICE officials have not released information on where the workers are being held.

Chanting "No justice! No peace! Freedom for the 33!" the protest received support and honks from passers-by and municipal bus drivers in the downtown rush-hour traffic. Groups like the Virginia Immigrant Peoples Coalition, Jobs with Justice, Students for a Democratic Society, the Defenders for Freedom Justice and Equality and individuals rallied for an hour and a half.

The protesters emphasized that the arrested were working people supporting families at home and the raid had cruelly separated families.

"These raids are part of a failed immigration policy that does nothing to make our communities any safer,'" said Jeff Winder of the VIP Coalition. "All the raids do is hurt families who have already been hurt by economic situations at home that forced them to come to the U.S."

Ana Edwards of the Defenders echoed Winder's outrage. "This tactic of separating families is an old tactic. (The government) did it during slavery to make profit and to demoralize people. (The government) did it to the Native Americans to assimilate people and take away their values. Here we are again in present times where the (ICE) raids repress workers and families," she said.


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