To the Editor:
The following is an open letter to the community.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On the morning of Saturday, Feb. 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted residential raids in Centreville, taking one family member of a worker from the Centreville Labor Resource Center. CLRC staff learned that the person detained was a recent arrival who came as an unaccompanied minor and just turned 18. CLRC staff was able to quickly connect the family member to a lawyer for assistance.
ICE has been conducting raids such as these for the past two months, targeting those who have arrived since the beginning of 2014. Many included in this group are women, children and youth who have fled poverty and violence.
The fear and distress from this most recent raid is reverberating throughout our community. Some people are even afraid to leave home; people with pending immigration cases worry that they will be deported, despite their compliance with court orders. These raids are sudden, they are random, and they are affecting our neighbors right here in Centreville.
The CLRC will serve as a resource to connect those affected by raids to reliable legal counsel, and will continue its efforts to ensure that the immigrant community is aware of their legal rights in the event of another raid. The CLRC is a project of the Centreville Immigration Forum, a 501c3 non-profit which receives no public funding. The Immigration Forum has always considered CLRC to be a local solution to a local problem, but we cannot ignore the crippling effect that fear is having on our community.
If you are moved to action as we are, please tell DHS secretary Jeh Johnson and President Obama to stop these raids and create a real solution for families fleeing violence. Go to http://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/tell-the-obama-administration-stop-the-raids-on-central-american-refugees.
Thank you for your consideration,
Director, Centreville Labor Resource Center
And staff, board and workers of Centreville Immigration Forum