MIRA members, staff, and allies are responding to the devastation of families caused by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's raid on workers at a defense contractor in New Bedford, MA. ICE rounded up and incarcerated around 350 textile workers, mostly women, leaving many children stranded.
How you can help!
1. Donate Money: The New Bedford Immigrant Families/ Niños Fund is now accepting donations. MIRA is working with the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts (SFSEMA) in distributing all funds raised to the affected children and families.
Click here to donate online. Please specify that the funds are for "New Bedford Immigrant Families / Ninos Fund." Or send a check to the MIRA Coalition, 105 Chauncy St, Boston, MA 02111. Please make checks out to the "New Bedford Immigrant Families / Ninos Fund." Donations are tax-deductible and 100% of your donations to this fund will be distributed to the affected families through the Commuity Foundation of Southeastern MA (CFSEMA).
2. Volunteers: We are compiling a list of willing volunteers. Right now we need people willing to drive New Bedford families from their homes to the JFK federal building in Boston. We also need immigration lawyers willing to take pro-bono cases, preferably a bilingual Spanish speaker. Please call MIRA with your name and contact information at 617-350-5480 x212.
3. Material Donations: Needed items: Pampers in all sizes; Baby wipes; bottles and bottle liners; Enfamil Soy baby formula; all types of baby food and winter baby clothing. Canned food, bottled water and paper produces are also needed. Donantions should be dropped off between 8:30am and 4:30pm at 2 Acushnet Ave, New Bedford at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent.
4. Voice Your Opinion: Write to your local newspaper and call into your local radio station to decry the devestation this raid has caused. Our immigration laws are supposed to unite families not destroy them. Read the press releases and articles and then click here for tips on writing a letter with some local paper links.
5. Write and Call Your Members of Congress: Capital Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Ask them to speak directly with Secretary Chertoff to request that he "Release the Moms." Also demand a moratorium on deportations until reform has passed. A sample letter is below--please invite your friends and families in other states to also write in!
DONATE FOR THE NEW BEDFORD FAMILIES / NINOS FUND HERE
Read Boston Globe March 9th Oped: "U.S immigration system at its worst"
If you have a FAMILY MEMBER detained in this raid, you can call ICE at 1-866-341-3858 to get more information about the arrested individual.
Also, if you're in the area, immigrant families will be joined by community organizations, community leaders, and clergy from New Bedford and across New England at a rally on:
Saturday, March 17th at 2:30 pm
53 North 6th St, New Bedford, MA 02740
On Saturday, please join all the organizations including the Immigrants Assistance Center, Organization Maya K'iche, the Community Connections Coalition of Greater New Bedford, Community Economic Development Center (CEDC), Catholic Social Services and United Interfaith Action who have been helping impacted families.
Sample Letter to your Members of Congress Regarding Humanitarian Disaster Created by the Immigration Raid in New Bedford, MA
(Prepared by Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, March 2007)
The Honorable Senator/Representative [First Name] [Last Name]
Dear Senator/Representative [Last Name],
I am a constituent and a member of [add any appropriate organizational affiliations].
I am writing to express my outrage at what occurred in New Bedford, MA on Tuesday, March 6, 2007. [Add a sentence or two about why you care.] Over 150 children were separated from parents and an entire community is suffering from trauma--I am appalled that this humanitarian disaster was carried out in my name with my tax dollars.
I want you to speak directly with Secretary Chertoff to demand a moratorium on all raids until immigration reform is passed.
Secondly, I ask you to speak directly with Leadership to bring immigration reform to the top of the priority list. The 110th Congress must pass just immigration policies before August--our communities cannot wait!
I look forward to your reply.
Update: Here's another editorial from the Boston Globe.