Friday, May 30, 2008
I was privileged to participate in a hearing sponsored by the UFCW in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday. The UFCW commission heard testimony on ICE raids abuse throughout the South, including the testimony of a young teenager (a U.S. citizen) who was held at gunpoint by 5 agents who burst in to her home as she was preparing to go to school. Mary Lou Pickel reports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
A panel meets this morning [May 29] in Atlanta to call attention to civil rights violations during immigration raids.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union organized a commission to talk about issues like U.S. citizens mistaken for immigrants, the cost to taxpayers of the raids and the extent to which raids curb illegal immigration.
Teenager Justeen Mancha, who was born in Texas and lived in Reidsville, will testify. She was home alone getting ready for school when she heard several men enter her mobile home in September 2006.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents conducted raids house to house in three Georgia counties, searching for illegal immigrants who used false documents and worked at the nearby Crider poultry plant in Stillmore.
Mancha's mother, Maria Christina Martinez, was born in Florida and used to work at the Crider poultry plant. Martinez said the agents entered without a warrant and she filed a civil rights lawsuit against the federal government through the Southern Poverty Law Center because she doesn't want anybody else to go through this treatment.
The commission meeting today is made up of labor leaders, politicians, academics, and civil rights organizations. It has held hearings in Washington, D.C., Boston and Des Moines on raids at meat-packing and poultry plants. Click here for the rest of the story.