Chicago: immigrant workers end hunger strike; vigil continues

On June 1 in Chicago, immigration judge John Brahos granted a continuance of more than four months to Flor Crisostomo and five other workers arrested last April 19 in an ICE raid of the IFCO Systems pallet company in Chicago. The six workers must return to court Oct. 12. Immigration judge Carlos Cuevas gave another 13 of the IFCO Chicago workers (or 15, according to the Chicago-based Spanish-language daily Diario Hoy) only a two-month continuance: they must return to court on July 31. Another three workers have immigration court dates set for June 6 and 7. A total of 26 workers were arrested at IFCO’s Chicago warehouse during the April 19 sweep; they were among 1,187 workers were arrested that day at 40 IFCO sites in 27 states. (Diario Hoy, June 2; Chicago Tribune, June 2; Nuevo Siglo, Chicago, June 2)

About 150 supporters of the Chicago-area workers rallied in front of the immigration court building before the hearings. (CT, June 2) Later on June 1, following the hearings, Crisostomo and Elvira Arellano annnounced the end of a hunger strike they began May 10, seeking a moratorium on raids and deportations . “We are ending the strike for the sake of our health,” said Arellano. “Also to have the strength to return to Washington to lobby and prepare ourselves to support the next workers who will appear in court.” (DH, June 2) Film student Victor Arroyo, who joined the hunger strike on May 13, and student Jesus Carlin, who joined it on May 16, also ended their fast on June 1. Roxana Licona ended her fast on May 31 for health reasons (she had joined it on May 13), but remained camped out in solidarity with the others at Tenochtitlan plaza on Chicago’s south side. (NS, JUne 2; La Raza, Chicago, June 2)

ICE Pervert Gets Probation

On May 5, ICE special agent-in-charge Frank Figueroa was sentenced to one year probation after pleading guilty in April to exposing his sex organs and disorderly conduct. Figueroa headed investigations at the ICE office in Tampa, Florida until his arrest last Oct. 25, when security cameras filmed him exposing himself and performing a lewd act in front of a 16-year old girl at a Florida mall. When confronted by mall security officers, Figueroa reportedly first ran from them, then showed them his federal ID badge. During the sentencing hearing, Figueroa claimed he was just scratching himself but acknowledged that the girl might have seen his sex organs. The girl’s mother pointed out that if the incident had happened a few months earlier, when the girl was 15 years old, Figueroa would have been charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Figueroa’s wife and 14-year-old daughter also presented statements at the
sentencing hearing, pleading for leniency. (WKMG, Orlando, May 12)

From Immigration News Briefs, June 3

See our last post on the immigrants rights struggle.