20 Arrested At D.C. Immigration Protest

Paul Bass PhotoLatoya Agnew got arrested for the first time in her life. For her fellow protester John Lewis, it was arrest number 45, at least.

Agnew and some four dozen other New Haveners arrived home Wednesday afternoon on a bus from the nation’s capital, where they had joined a mass protest Tuesday calling on Congress to take up a stalled immigration-reform bill.

Police arrested about 200 protesters committing civil disobedience at the protest. The arrestees included eight members of Congress (such as Lewis) and 20 of the activists who came from New Haven under the banners of of the New Haven Rising and UNITE/HERE. Newhallville Alderwoman Delphine Clyburn was among the New Haveners arrested.

The day began with a rally at the national Mall featuring speakers and drawing about 15,000 activists from around the country.

A march through the streets followed. The 200 arrestees sat down and blocked traffic. In a ritual pre-choreographed with D.C. police, they refused three orders to clear the street.

They spent the evening (and in some cases until early morning) being processed at a large facility and then paying $50 fines to be released. Police brought them cheese and balogna sandwiches.

Agnew, 21-year-old organizer of the youth-oriented New Haven Rising, called the trip “inspirational.”

“This is the fight we’re fighting in New Haven,” she said. “It’s the rights of people in general, not just immigrants.”

Agnew rode in a police van chatting with fellow arrestee U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. Her biggest thrill came later in the processing center, when she shook the hand of civil-rights hero and U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. Lewis’s office estimated Tuesday’s arrest as “at least” his 45th in protests since the 1960s, when police fractured his skull during the famous 1965 “Bloody March” in Selma.

“It was inspirational being there with John Lewis and seeing him get arrested. This issue really mattered,” Agnew said Wednesday. When Lewis departed, he dropped his red armband from the protest; Agnew returned to New Haven with that armband attached to her backpack.

Lewis’s presence also made an impression on 37-year-old New Haven lab tech Jess Corbett as he waited hours in the detention facility to be processed for his arrest. Corbett had been feeling impatient.

“Then looking at John Lewis sitting there in front of me, thinking of the risks he went through [in the ‘60s]—getting his head cracked in and wondering if he was going to wake up in the morning ... I stopped whining,” Corbett recalled.

Fellow New Haven arrestee Kenneth Reveiz, who’s 23, brought along a book called Queering Anarchism for the long bus rides to and from D.C..

Between sleep and the excitement of the trip, he didn’t read a page.

“To me, it was an honor to be arrested with a lot of undocumented people,” he said. “A lot of them were Dreamers, people trying to reform the education process,” Reveiz said. He said he also sees immigration as a “queer issue. A lot of this has to do with living in the shadows. I’m not undocumented, but a lot of people I know are.”

Alderwoman Clyburn said she had been arrested once before, at a state workers’ protest against former Gov. John Rowland. She didn’t remember handcuffs being on tight as they were Tuesday evening. She also didn’t enjoy being searched twice Tuesday. She was still glad she participated.

“I wanted to make be a part of the fight for the rights of immigrants,” Clyburn said. “They have a right to jobs, education, and a place to live.”

Contributed Photo

Tags: ,

Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry

Comments

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on October 9, 2013  3:10pm

Alderwoman Clyburn said he had been arrested once before, at a state workers’ protest against former Gov. John Rowland. She didn’t remember handcuffs being on tight as they were Tuesday evening. She also didn’t enjoy being searched twice Tuesday. She was still glad she participated.

“I wanted to make be a part of the fight for the rights of immigrants,” Clyburn said. “They have a right to jobs, education, and a place to live.”

And how about the jobs that they are taking by undercuting labor.In fact I do not hear not one of you Black politicians taking a stand on thi.

Workers Claim Race Bias as Farms Rely on Immigrants


VIDALIA, Ga. — For years, labor unions and immigrant rights activists have accused large-scale farmers, like those harvesting sweet Vidalia onions here this month, of exploiting Mexican guest workers. Working for hours on end under a punishing sun, the pickers are said to be crowded into squalid camps, driven without a break and even cheated of wages.But as Congress weighs immigration legislation expected to expand the guest worker program, another group is increasingly crying foul — Americans, mostly black, who live near the farms and say they want the field work but cannot get it because it is going to Mexicans. They contend that they are illegally discouraged from applying for work and treated shabbily by farmers who prefer the foreigners for their malleability.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/us/suit-cites-race-bias-in-farms-use-of-immigrants.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

How Illegal Immigration Hurts Black America

With national unemployment hovering around 10 percent and black male unemployment at a staggering 17.6 percent, it’s just not true that undocumented workers are doing the jobs that we won’t do.

http://www.theroot.com/views/how-illegal-immigration-hurts-black-america

posted by: HewNaven on October 9, 2013  6:07pm

The 200 arrestees sat down and blocked traffic. In a ritual pre-choreographed with D.C. police, they refused three orders to clear the street.

I don’t think civil disobedience is the right term when you cooperate with the police and plan your own capture. That’s what happens when you march with politicians, I guess.

posted by: Jim Berger on October 10, 2013  10:22am

LaToya, Ken, Jess, and all of you who went to D.C., your friends here are incredibly proud of you and impressed by your actions.  Ignore the silliness you may read here. It’s important work. We’re all in this together—in New Haven and nationally.  No one is an illegal person.  It’s our economy that has to change. 

Anyway, it sounds like a truly transformative experience.

posted by: CommonSense on October 11, 2013  10:41pm

This article appears to be equating immigration reform to the 1960s Civil Rights Movement…nothing could be further from the truth.

While Rep. Lewis is no doubt a hero for his work during the Civil Rights Movement, he has unfortunately become a victim of partisan Washington politics. The AP reported that Rep. Lewis wanted to bring up then President George W. Bush on impeachment charges for illegal wiretapping, stating he “deliberately, systematically violated the law”.  When current President Obama greatly deepens and expands upon that very program…Shhhhhh. 

Just another DC drone trying to get his name back in the papers these days.

posted by: LadyERT on October 15, 2013  7:58am

Jim Berger- “no one here is an illegal person”? According to law anyone that comes here without proper documentation, works without paying taxes and is not a citizen of the U.S. is committing a crime.