Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Maryland Raid Dampens Spirit of Celebration and Freedom

"When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" - Eleanor Roosevelt

The past week included parades, fireworks and picnics celebrating the values of freedom, and national pride. Families and friends held backyard cookouts, picnics, concerts, reunions and swimming pool parties. Many enjoyed the food, fireworks, laughter and mirth as they celebrated the nation's 222nd year of independence.

For some families, however, the week was riddled with fear, worry and uncertainty. On Monday, June 30, approximately 46 workers were detained in Annapolis, Maryland through a joint enforcement effort between the Anne Arundel County Police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Detainees included 10 women.

Since the raid's occurrence AFSC's Baltimore Project Voice staff has participated in efforts undertaken with local partners such as the Maryland Raid Response Network. The Network has collected information regarding the raid and taken steps to provide support to families affected by this crisis. This effort also has included the participation of advocates, community groups and attorneys. In several cases the detained immigrant is the primary family wage earner. This means that family members (including children), will now need financial assistance or social services support to pay their rent, purchase food or secure legal representation for their loved one who has been detained.

According to Ruben Chandrasekar, AFSC's Project Voice regional organizer, "We are planning to meet with affected collect more information, offer support and connect them to lneeded resources and assistance." AFSC staff also has supported several public actions drawing attention to the raid and its impact. Local efforts have included the establishment of a hotline for affected family members and witnesses to the raid, and a July 1st press conference denouncing the raid was also held.

For more information or to support the work undertaken by AFSC's Maryland-based immigrant rights program, please contact Ruben Chandrasekar at 410-323-7262 or at

Read On: Postville, Iowa Raid Sows Fear and Uncertainty

On May 12, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), together with the U.S. Iowa Northern District Attorney, carried out the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history. The raid at Agriprocessors, Inc., in Postville, Iowa, resulted in the detention of 389 women, men, and minors.

AFSC and partner groups responded quickly to help detainees and their families, but fear and uncertainty continue to grip immigrants in the area. Visit the AFSC website for more information on the Iowa raid and how you can support Postville's immigrant and non-immigrant communities as they jointly respond to the raid's aftermath. Learn more about the Postville situation, visit http://www/afsc/org/central/ia/PostvilleRaid.html.