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California immigrant rights protesters target DHS Secretary Napolitano

By Carlos Montes |
May 18, 2010
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Claremont, CA - On May 16, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano faced protests here, challenging the ongoing Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids, detentions and deportations of undocumented workers. The protesters also condemned the racist Arizona law, SB1070, that criminalizes the undocumented and increases harassment and discrimination against Chicanos.

Napolitano spoke at the Pomona College graduation ceremony. Demonstrators marched from the nearby Greyhound bus station, where ICE has conducted raids. The marchers, numbering over 300 strong, held a militant rally near the graduation event. The chant, “Obama! Escucha! Estamos en la lucha,” could be heard by Napolitano and those attending the graduation assembly. During the ceremony, a group of students unfurled a large banner reading “Stop Arizona.” They were led away by police.

One of the rally speakers, Jose Calderon, a long time Chicano activist and professor of Chicano Studies at Pitzer College said, “Although we are seeking to stop the type of enforcement and racial profiling policies that are been carried out in Arizona, the reality is that some of those policies are here in our backyard.”

The protest was organized by the May 16 Coalition, which is made up of students, union and immigrant workers, community leaders, professors and groups from California’s Inland Valley.

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