Connecticut is coming together on Wednesday, January 6 to say #StoptheRaids #not1more #ICEoutofCT. The rally, which will include “Know Your Rights” street theater begins at 12 PM at the corner of Grand Ave and Ferry Street, New Haven.
In Connecticut, ICE may round up approximately 200 women and children who fled violence in Central America. 155 of those women and children never had a lawyer, and they received a deportation order without any chance to present evidence to an immigration judge.
The Guatemalan community in New Haven, many of whom are indigenous Mayans, survived state-sponsored violence and genocide between 1960 and 1996, when over 200,000 Guatemalans were killed. 93% of atrocities were committed by the Guatemalan military, which was sponsored, trained and armed by the US government.
Unidad Latina en Acción, a grassroots organization founded by Central American immigrants in New Haven, Connecticut has issued the following press release:
For immediate release 1/4/2016
Contact: Karim Calle, firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-823-3265
Joe Foran, email@example.com, 860-878-8675
On Christmas Eve, a member of the Obama administration leaked that the government was planning to raid neighborhoods and homes to deport recently arrived asylum seekers from Central America, to send a message that the president is acting tough to stop the influx of women and children who are fleeing violence. Over the weekend, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun to perform raids in communities across the country, targeting Central American children and families that have arrived in the past two years. People from across the country have seen our Know Your Rights flyer (below) on social media and have called asking for advice and consolation.
The last time that Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided homes in New Haven in 2007, the community took action and stopped further raids from happening. Thousands marched to denounce the raids. Detainees and community groups won lawsuits against ICE for retaliating against New Haven’s pro-immigrant policies and violating civil rights during the raids.
“We won’t tolerate any more ICE raids in our community,” said Karim Calle, a member of Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA). “We won’t let ICE violate our civil rights. Our community is educated, organized, and ready to defend our rights.”
ICE may round up approximately 200 women and children in Connecticut who fled violence in Central America. 155 of those women and children never had a lawyer to represent them, and they received a deportation order without any chance to present evidence to an immigration judge.
The Guatemalan community in New Haven, many of who are indigenous Mayans, survived state-sponsored violence and genocide between 1960 and 1996, when over 200,000 Guatemalans were killed, 83% of them indigenous people. According to the UN-sponsored truth commission, 93% of atrocities were committed by the Guatemalan military, which was sponsored, trained and armed by the US government.
Only a small fraction of the Central American families who sought refuge in the U.S. over the past two years were able to secure legal representation to argue on their behalf. These families’ claims for asylum are extremely credible. A recent study found that represented children have a 73% success rate in immigration court, as compared to only 15% of unrepresented children.  Deporting them before they can make a proper case is an intolerable injustice.
National advocacy groups sued the US government in August 2014 for deporting Central American women and children who have fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution without a fair hearing in court.  The Guardian reports that the US has deported least 80 Central Americans to their death in recent years. 
Hundreds of detainees in immigration prisons in California, Colorado, Alabama and Texas went on hunger strikes this Thanksgiving to protest the rejection of their asylum claims and prolonged confinement. The prisons punished them with solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, and forced feeding. 
For several decades, Guatemalan asylum seekers have made a positive impact on New Haven. In 2002, Guatemalan migrants founded Unidad Latina en Acción, one of the community groups that would go on to create the first government-issued ID card for undocumented immigrants, together with City of New Haven.
In 1999, former US president Bill Clinton apologized for US participation in the atrocities, when he declassified thousands of government documents showing that the US government had trained, armed and aided the Guatemalan military and death squads in those massacres, tortures and rapes. The perpetrators were never been punished, and human rights abuses continue, especially in areas where mining companies are creating violent conflicts. Contemporary violence in Central America has been–and continues to be–funded and supported by the United States. Today, our country is turning its back on the very refugees it has created. We have asked Mayor Harp, Congresswoman DeLauro and other elected officials that they not do the same. We have also asked Mayor Harp to distribute the following Know Your Rights flyer to New Haven public schools. The Washington Post, “U.S. Plans to Deport Families Who Surged Across the Border” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-plans-raids-to-deport-families-who-surged-across-border/2015/12/23/034fc954-a9bd-11e5-8058-480b572b4aae_story.html Eyewitness report of Saturday ICE raid in Atlanta: http://mundohispanico.com/videos/mundohispanico/inmigracion-salio-a-arrestar-gente Link in Spanish  http://trac.syr.edu/phptools/immigration/mwc/  Amnesty International, “Mining in Guatemala: Rights at Risk”
http://www.amnesty.ca/sites/amnesty/files/mining-in-guatemala-rights-at-risk-eng.pdf  American Bar Association Commission on Immigration: “A Humanitarian Call to Action: Unaccompanied Children in Removal Proceedings Present a Critical Need for Legal Representation.” http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/immigration/UACSstatement.authcheckdam.pdf  The Los Angeles Times, “Immigrant rights groups sue U.S. over fast-tracked deportations” http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-immigration-lawsuit-new-mexico-20140822-story.html  The Guardian, “US government deporting Central American migrants to their deaths” http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/12/obama-immigration-deportations-central-america  Mother Jones, “Here’s Why Hundreds of Immigrants in Detention Have Gone on Hunger Strike” http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/11/why-are-hundreds-detained-immigrants-going-hunger-strike  Vice News, “Immigrant Detainees Accuse US of Using Sleep Deprivation During Hunger Strike” https://news.vice.com/article/immigrant-detainees-accuse-us-of-using-sleep-deprivation-during-hunger-strike  Kica Matos, “The Elm City Resident Card: New Haven Reaches Out to Immigrants.” Press release from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. https://www.bostonfed.org/commdev/necd/2008/issue1/elmcitycard.pdf and “About ULA” https://ulanewhaven.org/ula  The New York Times, “Clinton Offers His Apologies To Guatemala” http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/11/world/clinton-offers-his-apologies-to-guatemala.html