Somerville, MA. During recent weeks activities conducted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) have increased in the Boston area. Beginning in 2006 ICE increased its actions targeting the detention and removal of undocumented Latino immigrants. ICE has executed massive raids nationwide which have resulted in the separation of families and the interruption of social and economic life in many communities.
"We are very pleased with President Obama's recent declaration about taking action and working for the reformation of the immigration system. However, we know that the raids, detentions and deportations continue to happen in our communities, and for that reason Centro Presente is launching a campaign to educate our community about their rights in the case of a raid or arrest," declared Patricia Montes, Executive Director of Centro Presente. "We have been doing this work since last year, but due to the increased activity of ICE, we are intensifying our work. In the next three months we will give presentations and workshops to more than 15 local churches. We conduct 'Know Your Rights' workshops that prepare our community by explaining the details of arrest and search warrants, pointing out basic and vital rights, and instructing participants on how to respond in the event of a raid or detention by law enforcement agents," explained Montes. "The campaign helps to develop the leadership of Centro Presente members, because the activities are conducted by active members of the organization."
"Our community can not wait until a just and humane immigration reform becomes a reality", stated Gabriel Camacho, President of the Board of Directors of Centro Presente. "We need to know our constitutional rights regardless of the political maneuverings in Washington DC. Regardless of the change in the White House our families are still being torn apart by an immoral enforcement system," continued Camacho.
Centro Presente is an active member of The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC) and through this alliance Centro Presente has been working for immigration reform. "We urge the Obama Administration to take action and change key administration measures, like the raids. It is urgent to declare a moratorium on these ICE actions against individuals and communities until Congress reforms the US immigration system," emphasized Montes.