Monday, May 12th, 2008

ICE Raids On Berkeley And Oakland Schools

OAKLAND, CA – May 6, 2008 – Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums joined unions and community groups at Stonehurst Elementary School after agents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement showed up earlier in the morning. Dellums and others protested the ICE activity in Oakland, which is a sanctuary city, just days after marches took place across the country for immigrants’ rights. Dellums talked with concerned parents, as worried children left school at the end of the day. Photos and Caption By David Bacon.

The political campaigns may have become a cartoon, but real issues are still exploding in the streets.

This past week, ICE sent agents to elementary schools in Oakland, shocking and scaring students, parents, teachers, and city officials. Parents reported that the agents intimidated students by patrolling outside the school after being denied entry at Stonehurst Elementary. ICE followed up with arrests of parents at their homes in Oakland and Berkeley.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and Berkeley schools superintendent Bill Huyet quickly promised to protect students from such raids. Berkeley schools also offered escorts for worried parents and students.

Both cities–and San Francisco–are sanctuary cities for immigrants.

Parents, students, and immigrant advocates launched protests last week against the raids. In the past, ICE raids have often targeted workplaces. For many documented and undocumented immigrants, these ICE school raids introduce another level of fear and provocation.

ICE raids have often ripped young children from their parents and last week’s were no exception. One lawyer advocate reported being denied access to counsel a couple who had been arrested and detained. She ended up caring for that couple’s young child.

With the immigration debate sidelined for the duration of this presidential term, how will the presidential candidates address the issue in January? Are these kinds of raids throughout the summer the ICE bureaucrats’ way of forcing the issue sooner?

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