[ Yadira at the Peace & Unity 2012 march in Watsonville. ]
Yadira Ramirez and I spoke on Monday night, June 28, 2004, about the upcoming Pilgrimage Supporting Immigrants and Farmworkers. Yadira is 16 years old and from Watsonville.
Yadira also speaks about the INS (or whatever they call it now…) kidnapping people from Watsonville.
Our community is the base of this town.
The Pilgrimage starts at 8:00 AM on June 29 in King City. The United Farm Workers are helping to organize the events which will be in support of ‘immigrants’ and farmworkers. An important focus of the pilgrimage is to build support for AgJobs (SB1645)
Schedule of Pilgrimage:
June 29 King City Fairgrounds 8:00 AM
June 30 Greenfield
July 1 Soledad
July 2 Gonzales
July 3 Chular and ending in Salinas
There will be food and events each night at 5:00 PM and camping each night.
For more information, call the United Farm Workers at:
831-763-4820 in Watsonville
831-754-4781 in Salinas
831-674-0270 in Greenfield
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Yadira wrote a letter to the editor of a paper called the Register-Pajaronian, the “News Leader of the Pajaro Valley.”
About the Register-Pajaronian:
“Local news has been the heart and soul of our organization since we first started publishing newspapers in 1868. For 132 years, we have worked diligently to bring the readers of Watsonville, California, and the Pajaro Valley the finest in local news and information.”
Yadira’s letter to the editor was in response to an to article in the Register-Pajaronian called, “Officials try to put deportation fears to rest.”
(check out the comments… most of them are very rude!)
She was very upset with information put forth in the article. Unfortunately, the paper was not able to help Yadira get her letter printed before the Pilgrimage.
Yadira handed me her hand written letter which she hoped to get printed in paper so that I could type it up and post it here on Indymedia.
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Sunday June 27, 2004
I have come across with the problems that are affecting our community at this moment. Immigration has come and taken hearts apart, those who are in search of little food in their mouth, and a decent life in their arounds yet we never ask for much, don’t mean you can violate our rights, we too have a heart. We sustained we backed off yes we cried. Now together our hearts are demanding our rights in which we are in tittle to have!
We ask you, if your heart has been touched, to join us the 29 of this month. king City is where we start in a protest that ends the third of July. For migrant hearts that have been strike and want to see something done. The Union de Campesinos has come up with a proposition to help out. AgJobs is what we want. And it’s sitting with the US senators 63 from 100 said alright, but the rest are not sure about that. So we start in our towns, and us in this walk to show that AgJobs is what we really want.
Our community is the base of this town. Oscar Rios knows this struggle he feeds them day and night. United as one our rights is what we want. And with mothers faith will be all right.
Yadira Ramirez, 16 years old from Watsonville
[email protected] (the sun and the moon)
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Yadira has been volunteering her time to help the UFW organize farm workers. Today (6/28/04) she collected 64 cards in support of AgJobs (SB1645)
This what the VOTING CARD for AgJobs said (front and back)
Los Campesinos Aportamos mucho a la economia de los estados unidos
Hacemos el trabajo que nadie mas quiere hacer
merecemos la oportunidad de trabajar libremente sin temor a ser deportados
Estas de acuerdo en que pase la ley AgJobs (SB1645) para la legalizacion de campesinos?
Si or No
ENTONCES DIGAMOSLE AL SENADO DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS QUE APRUEVE LA LEY AGJOBS
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The Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2003, also known as AgJOBS, S.1645 (Craig and Kennedy), may come to a vote as an amendment a preexisting senate bill. Please support the Craig-Kennedy AgJOBS amendment. Please oppose any proposed changes to this carefully balanced, bipartisan compromise which resulted from several years of highly detailed negotiations that included many painful concessions.
Farmworker immigration issues have been fought over in Congress since 1995 and the situation for farmworkers and the agricultural sector of the economy continues to get worse. The delicate compromise, based on painful concessions on all sides of the debate, will fall apart if efforts are made to change its terms. For these reasons, we ask that you oppose amendments that would change this carefully balanced legislation.
The bipartisan legislation already has significant support, as evidenced by its 63 cosponsors in the Senate. The few opponents have not offered a meaningful, practical solution to the serious problems that gave rise to the legislation.
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I’m not sure how long the article will be available on the Register-Pajaronian website, so I’ll copy the text of the article, and the comments so far…
Officials try to put deportation fears to rest
Jun 26 2004
By THE REGISTER-PAJARONIAN
Officials from the Mexican Consulate in San Jose made a special trip Thursday to Watsonville, where they joined other community leaders in attempts to quell growing fear and unrest over recent rumored immigration sweeps.
“I’m here today to repeat what the immigration authorities have been telling me – that there are no immigration sweeps or roundups going on in this part of California,” said Bruno Figueroa, consul general of Mexico, during a mid-morning press conference in front of City Hall.
The event, which drew TV news stations from as far away as Salinas and San Jose, was held in response to several days of protests at Watsonville Plaza.
Some community leaders have claimed people are so frightened by the rumored raids that they’re canceling doctors’ appointments and staying home from work, school and church.
Despite reassurances from immigration officials and local law enforcement that no such activities are occurring, the rumors have continued to spread like wildfire across the Pajaro Valley and beyond.
“I believe I speak for all of us assembled here today when I say that we understand and accept the reality that many of the hard-working, taxpaying residents of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties are here without legal status,” said Ken Smith of Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action, the broad-based community group that hosted Thursday’s event. “Today, we say no to a climate of fear and intimidation, and we commit to effective political and administrative action to ensure dignity and fair treatment for these Santa Cruz families.”
The diverse group of speakers included City Council members, representatives from the offices of Rep. Sam Farr and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, clergy members, health care providers and community activists.
Most officials pledged to continue looking into the allegations, but maintained that no hard evidence or facts had been found to support claims that raids are taking place.
“We’ve contacted federal immigration authorities about the rumors and were told that the rumors were just that – rumors,” Farr stated in a Thursday press release.
Others urged people to resume their normal lives and not live in undue fear.
“It is not helpful for workers to stay away from work due to fear,” Smith said. “It is not helpful for children to be kept home from school or for people to go without needed health care due to fear. When 12,000 to 20,000 residents of Santa Cruz County who may be without full legal status live in fear, it hurts us all and creates a climate of fear that affects us all.”
While Figueroa tried to calm people’s fears, he also reminded Mexican citizens of their legal rights.
“Remain silent, always ask for a lawyer and call the consulate,” he said. “It’s our job, our duty to protect our citizens. Also, when anyone is being deported, that information has to come through our office at the consulate. We have not received any information on any deportations in the recent weeks.”
It is not the first time a deportation scare has swept through town, said Watsonville City Council member Ana Ventura Phares, who read aloud from a 1996 council resolution requesting “suspension of random detentions and arrests of residents in the city of Watsonville by the INS.”
“During that time, there actually were sweeps and roundups occurring, and people were being stopped by agents based on their appearance or ethnicity,” Phares said. “We don’t want to have that happen here again – where people are being stopped without a legitimate reason or detained for not having their documents on them all the time. We urge people to keep coming forward with their stories. The main thing is to just figure out what’s going on.”
Doug Keegan, program director of the Santa Cruz County Immigration Project, called on whoever is starting the rumors to come forward.
“Show your face,” Keegan said. “Come forward and identity yourself. This is cowardly, illegal. It’s damaging to our community.”
Although Keegan said he’s yet to uncover any hard evidence that these incidents are actually taking place, he said he doesn’t want people to feel as though their concerns and stories aren’t being taken seriously.
“We’re continuing to work very hard to find out what exactly, if anything, is happening here,” Keegan said. “I’ve been going to all the sites where these things have reportedly occurred and interviewed people and found no real facts. But at the same time, the reports of these incidents are so similar in nature and intensity that it makes you wonder if something really is going on. I keep wondering if there may be some rogue agents out there stopping people – some anti-immigration group that’s trying to scare people or even posing as agents. You never know.”
Keegan encouraged anyone who has information or has been contacted by someone claiming to be an immigration official to contact him the Santa Cruz County Immigration Project at 724-5667.
Jun, 28 2004 what is the reason for having so many illegal status people in our comminity?? why dont they gain their legal status?? is it because this way we legal citizens can continue to pay for their living??
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Jun, 27 2004 Illegal immigration is a serious federal crime. American citizens demand and the law requires the removal of illegal aliens. What is the Consul General of Mexico, Bruno Figueroa, doing giving aid and comfort to his nationals who sneak across the border and take up residence in places like Watsonville? Many illegal aliens from Mexico have the mistaken belief they can remain here and obviously, so does the Consul General of Mexico. Let me just say the following to Bruno: Keep your nose out of our business or leave the United States because you are not welcome here. Your government’s odious meddling is not the behavior of a friendly country.
Name: Larry Brown
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Jun, 26 2004 It looks like the mere rumor of illegal immigrant sweeps caused a large drop off in attendance at local schools, clinics, non-profits and businesses. No wonder the Watsonville City Council officially opposes such sweeps. It looks like illegal aliens are the main thing keeping our local economy from collapsing completely. Too bad we no longer have an economy capable of supporting itself legally.
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Jun, 26 2004 I cannot believe it! The INS are doing thier job and the illegals want them to stop. What right does the City Council have to stop them from doing their jobs, why don’t you as the people who live here and are paying for their medical bills, food stamps, housing and their children to rided the school bus. We are going broke trying to keep up with all of this and now we are the ones made to look bad because we want the INS to SEND THESE PEOPLE BACK! We have plenty of legal Mexican people here and they are working and trying to make a better life for themselves we don’t need illegals. If these people want to stay let them do it the right way, until then I hope the INS is at the city plaza picking up all they can. A taxpayer