Los Angeles: protesters defend immigrant rights

On June 24, several thousand demonstrators, many carrying US flags, marched through Hollywood, California, to demand full rights for immigrants. Police estimated the crowd at 1,100. Organizer Raul Murillo said the marchers want lawmakers in Washington to know immigration reform is essential. (Los Angeles Times, June 25; Los Angeles Daily News, June 25) The Coalition in Defense of Immigrant Rights (CDIR), which organized the march, said more than 15,000 people took part. (CDIR Update No. 15, June 24, via Los Angeles Indymedia)

A day earlier, June 23, about 100 people tried to march into Leimert Park in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, an area seen as the cultural center of the city’s Black community, to protest “illegal immigration.” The mixed group of Black activists and members of the “Minutemen” organization was led by homeless activist Ted Hayes, who has allied himself with the Minutemen to push the anti-immigrant cause. The marchers were confronted by a crowd of about 500 mostly Black and Latino pro-immigrant counter-demonstrators, including several hundred Crenshaw residents, who gathered inside the park; police kept the two sides apart and blocked the anti-immigrant group from entering the park. The standoff lasted several hours but ended without any major incidents. Hayes and four other people were arrested. (LAT, June 24; Fox 11, June 23; Article by Leslie Radford, June 25 posted on LA Indymedia)

Orange County organizes against raids

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on June 22 that it had arrested 175 people in Orange County, California, south of Los Angeles, in a five-day operation allegedly targeting immigrants with prior criminal records. Only 27 of those arrested had criminal records, while 26 were considered “immigration fugitives” who had ignored prior deportation orders. The other 122 people were presumably out-of-status immigrants caught up in the sweeps. Federal immigration officials worked with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies and received leads from the public to help locate the suspects. The majority of those arrested were from Mexico; others were from India, Kenya, the Philippines and Colombia. More than 100 had been deported as of June 22. (Reuters, June 22; Daily Pilot, Newport Beach & Costa Mesa, CA, June 23; Los Angeles Times, June 23)

On June 27, a small group of immigrant rights activists hit the streets of Santa Ana carrying signs that read “Deport ICE” and “Alto a los Redadas” (“Stop the Raids”) and handing out fliers about a meeting called for June 28 and a march planned for June 30. The activists were told by local residents that further raids had happened on June 22 and 23—after the five-day Orange County operation allegedly ended—with about 15 more people arrested. Residents also said that ICE agents were continuing to question and harass people in the community. The activists are planning to step up their presence in an effort to monitor ICE activity and protect residents. (Anonymous posting on LA Indymedia, June 28) The June 30 march against the raids is set to start at noon in Santa Ana at the corner of Raitt and McFadden; it will end with a rally and press conference at a park across from 4th and Ross. (LA Indymedia 6/27/07; rally information posted at myspace.com/chavezdayofaction)

From Immigration News Briefs, June 30

See our last posts on the immigration crackdown, the May Day violence in Los Angeles and the struggle in California.