Protesters Demand of Obama and L.A. Sheriff Baca: Stop the Police/ICE Repression!
Los Angeles, CA – Hundreds marched here Dec. 10, protesting “Secure Communities,” the Immigration Custom Enforcement/police program that attacks poor and working class immigrants, mostly Mexican and Central American, who are caught up in traffic or other minor infractions.
Starting in the heart of the historic Los Angeles district of La Placita, the militant march first headed to the Metropolitan Federal Detention Center, where the chants of, “Obama, escucha! Estamos en la lucha,” and “Esta es nuestra tierra, esta es nuestra lucha!” rang out. Speakers denounced President Obama for continuing to support Secure Communities (SCOMM). “‘Secure communities’ makes for the insecure communities of the Poli Migra,” said one demonstrator.
Carlos Montes talked about the FBI role in advocating for SCOMM and the current attack on anti-war activists. Loyda Alvarado, the rally emcee, spoke of the need to protest for immigrant rights on International Human Rights Day. Surita Patel, an attorney with Center for Constitutional Rights, talked about the lawsuit filed against Sheriff Lee Baca and the L.A. county sheriffs, demanding the release of data on how SCOMM had been used against immigrants. Miriam, a street vendor, spoke about how the L.A. sheriffs harass and constantly ticket street vendors trying to survive.
The march then headed to the Los Angeles County Central Jail. There, Pablo Alvarado, leader of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, denounced SCOMM as a tool of ICE and local sheriffs to deport more immigrants. Dream Network students Jonathan and Isaac talked about their protest in Alabama at an ICE office and how they saw hundreds of immigrants crowded in ICE detention centers.
Also speaking at the jail, Erick Huerta spoke of the impact of SCOMM on undocumented students and youth who are left alone after their parents are deported. Gerard Lenoir, an African American activist with the U.S. Human Rights Network, express solidarity and condemned the racist anti-immigrant laws recently passed in Georgia and Alabama. A representative of the International League of People’s Struggle spoke of the plight of Asian immigrants from the Philippines. Day laborer Mariano Hernandez spoke of the constant harassment and fear of police when trying to work.
The marchers pointed out that Sheriff Lee Baca is a strong advocate of SCOMM, which has caused untold suffering for thousands of working class immigrants. Sheriff Baca was also called upon to resign because of the conditions in the L.A. County jails, which include the beating of prisoners and corruption, like sheriff deputies selling cell phones to prisoners. The FBI is investigating these charges against the sheriffs.
The march included members of the U.S. Human Rights Network, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, Southern California Immigration Coalition, Committee to Stop FBI Repression – L.A., Union del Barrio, International Action Center, Mecha de Santee HS, SGV Dream Network, CHIRLA, CARECEN, Pomona Day Labor Center, CLASE and others.